Living at Beida


Today concludes my first week in China! This week has been such an experience! I had a lot of fun hanging out with the other exchange students from my school (there are 16 of us), people-watching strangers as they hurried about their day and struggling to order some food in the crowded dining halls (shout out to the native speakers who pulled through). We started our Chinese language class as well as our Engineering course this week. The Chinese lessons are tough and learning the language can get very tiresome, but I’m determined to reduce the stress I get from visiting the cafeterias everyday, so I’ll stick it out.

This morning we didn’t have class until 10:30, so I, being an early bird, had plenty of time to try breakfast at a new cafe and take a walk around the stunning campus. I am living and studying at Peking University (known as Beida in Chinese) which is China’s first national university and, as I’m often told, its best! Being founded in 1898, Beida has a rich history that is evident in much of its architecture. Below I want to share some of my favorite spots on campus so far:

20160617_10002520160615_104800This is the West Gate, the oldest gate on campus and my first impression of Peking when I arrived a week ago!


20160615_103403In the center of the campus is a large lake, Wei Ming Lake (meaning not yet named). It’s green, but beautiful and filled with cute turtles!

20160617_10204220160615_102646Our academic buildings, designed by an American architect, have traditional Chinese facades.




Much of the old part of campus used to be a garden, which one can still see taking the scenic routes to class.

Sometimes when I’m walking around, I realize how historic and culturally valuable some of the sites are and it can feel surreal. We have a visit to the Summer Palace tomorrow, so I’m sure that feeling will just be intensified!

– Jakim Johnson, a.k.a. 纪家盛 (my new awesome given name!)