Greetings from Jiao Tong University! When we were first driving through campus, I have to admit it looked like a compound. It’s partly because that’s the way some Chinese buildings look, but also I think it was just the older part of the school.
The campus is huge. There are 8 times as many students here than at my university in America! There are tons and tons of bikes everywhere you look, which makes sense because walking from one side of campus to the other would probably take close to 20 minutes to walk! Luckily, all my classes are really close together, so instead I’m just getting at lot of steps on my Fitbit!
I have one roommate in a room made for four people in my dorm, so we have four desks and four beds on top of the desks. We also have our own bathroom with a shower. However, we have already run into a couple problems, one being that the electricity wasn’t paid for, so we would randomly not have power for a couple minutes until we got it fixed. We also don’t have wifi now and can’t eat in the cafeterias on campus because we don’t have student IDs yet. Therefore, to satisfy our hunger and our lack of connection to the virtual world, my roommate and I went to a restaurant for dinner and mooched off their wifi. I felt kind of bad for just sitting there after we finished our food to be on their wifi, but I have to keep my snapchat streak with my friends!
We explored campus the second day and got lost a couple times. However, after running around campus for the past couple days trying to get student IDs and registering with the school, I think I know my way around better.
The benefit of waiting in lines trying to get things checked off, so I could get a student ID is that there are other people trying to do the same thing! I’ve made a lot of friends being lost and finding people in the same boat. It’s actually really cool because there are people from all over the world attending Jiao Tong University, so it’s possible to hear three different languages when you’re walking around instead of everyone just speaking English. I think it is so impressive because most Jiao Tong students know Chinese and English, and then the other international students usually know their language, English, and are trying to learn Chinese. It’s inspiring and kind of makes me feel bad that I can only speak one language really well.
One thing to mention is that spring semester at Jiao Tong University is their shortest semester, so there are less course options than normal. Therefore, if you’re thinking about participating in the IES Abroad engineering program, you might want to consider the fall or the summer if you want more course options.
My classes are full of Chinese students, but taught in English, which is kind of weird. Imagine taking an engineering course in the US that was taught in Chinese. Another weird thing is I am pretty sure I’m the only one taking notes in class. It makes me feel self-conscious because I feel like it is a red flag that I am an American. It shouldn’t bother me, but I would rather blend in with the crowd.
We finally have access to the cafeterias, so I got to see what they were like. It’s like a food court, and there are so many options that it’s hard to decide what to get. It’s cool because they have all kinds of food from different parts of China!
Next weekend we are going to meet the students in the IES Abroad Economics and Business program and see the Shanghai Acrobatics show, which has an advertisement that says “miss it and you miss Shanghai.” That’s a huge claim, so I hope they can live up to that!
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<p>Hi all! My name is Lucy Swett, and I am a sophomore at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. I am majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Chinese. I was adopted from Hubei China, when I was one year old, raised in the United States, and now I am excited to go back for the first time! I hope you join me in my adventure!</p>