After a three month break from studying, I have to admit it’s somewhat refreshing to be back at university, in a study environment. I’m pretty happy with my timetable, in which I have only one 8am start. Yes, that’s right – 8am. Classes here start from 8am and can run until 7:50pm. Each lesson consists of two 50minute periods with a supposed 10minute break in between. Even if you get given the full 10minutes, be warned that it’s no easy feat to get anything done in that time. My university campus, like most in China, is huge. Our teachers had described it to us as ‘a little city’, and they’re not wrong. As well as all the teaching buildings and departments, student dormitories, and halls of residence for staff and teachers(!), there are also a number of canteens, an enormous library, a kindergarten, an elementary school, a middle school, a clinic, a couple of supermarkets, two gyms, two full size sports tracks, tennis courts, basketball courts….and an electric appliance store. Oh, and a campus police office.
From the building where my classes are held, the supermarkets and canteens are definitely not breaktime destinations. The closest little dormitory shop for any students who wish to get a snack is a 5minute jog away, not forgetting the return journey. Unless you want to turn up to class late, your best bet is to stay put. It’s not all bad though… some speedy students have been known to make it to the toilet and back. Just.
Arriving to class late brings its own problems, and seeing as the teachers’ explanations of the consequences are not fully understood, you better not be late. Attendance counts towards your final grade – different numbers of marks are lost, depending on which class it is, and whether you’ve informed the teacher that you will be absent or not. If a student is late or leaves early for 15minutes three times, they will be considered as missing class for 1hour. (I am curious to see how stringent the teachers are about keeping record of all this). And, of course, if your attendance record falls below the standard, you will not be permitted to sit the exam.
I have no issues with the majority of university life here as yet, though it does make me appreciate the university system back in London more.