Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen Blogs and Postcards
Header image CEASG Blogs

Peking University; as big as my home town

Date:16 September 2015
Author:Matthijs Verver (student Peking Summer School)

As big as my home town, more inhabitants, more facilities. That’s the campus of Peking University. People tell me approximately 10.000 people reside in these dorms, while I come from a Dutch town with nearly 7000 inhabitants. Here you can buy phones, go to the cinema, hit the swimming pool and also study. I walk from just outside the campus, where the dorms for international visitors are located, to class every day. In the Netherlands I would detest to walk this distance once, let alone daily. But somehow it grows on you within a few days, when you start to realize that Peking is a city with a scale Dutch people are unfamiliar with.

The campus even has an enormous lake, some incredible nature and a Chinese-style water tower, which was actually built by the Germans. Besides teachers, professors and students the campus welcomes many other visitors. Tourists from all over the country come to see the most praised university of China and its campus. In lines they wait to get their tickets, which inconveniences me, since I have to make my way through the crowd to show my student card to the guards in order to get in.

One day I walk from the campus to my room. I see a girl in an academic dress and some guys taking pictures of her. As I walk up to them to congratulate her with her achievements, her friends tell me she didn’t actually graduate. Turns out, many tourists come here, rent graduation attire and have huge photo sessions as a memento of the university of their aspirations. The drive for excellence is strong in Peking and probably all China. And although most of these dreamers will not achieve their ultimate goal of graduating here, I believe their motivation will contribute to China’s future success story.

Matthijs Verwer attended a summer school at Peking University in the summer of 2015.