I wish everyone’s vacation is going well. I am Peilu Chen, a rising sophomore from Notre Dame, business and anthropology (considering) double major. I am from Nanjing, China and currently working in Notre Dame Asia Office in Beijing. I am happy to be back in my home country. Though not exactly abroad, I find interning in Beijing still a quite different and nice experience. I visited Beijing years ago when I was young and barely remember about it. I, along with my workmate Secilia Jia, now live in an apartment in Tsinghua University.
Secilia and I work as interns in Notre Dame Asia Office with Dr. Noble, assistant provost and Mucka, his assistant. We work on diverse tasks, wherever needs us. We updated the Asia Office’s website and the brochures. We also helped out in the Notre Dame Annual Alumni Picnic and welcomed our distinguished guest, Dr. Gu Binglin, former president of Tsinghua University, who received honorary degree from Notre Dame. It was a great time talking to alumni and incoming students. Some tasks could be a bit challenging but quite interesting at the same time. We were assigned to come up with proposals on an IBM leadership retreat in Beijing suburbs. We need to balance the fun part and the learning part. Though travel agencies could take care of travelling— the fun part, few companies in China help with team-building activities and such kind of training. After doing some research and consulting professionals on phone, we two handed in four possible solutions to the company and now wait to see if they like them. Our work proved to be quite creative.
Since I have travelled around in Beijing as a tourist before, such as the Great Wall and Summer Palace, I enjoy walking in the city and experience a normal Beijing citizen’s life. As a Notre Dame student living in Tsinghua, I took the opportunity to tour Tsinghua University and Peking University nearby, the two top ones in China. Each university has its own unique culture. I see the general difference between Chinese and American universities and the specific differences among each of them. Chinese universities have a different system and core curriculum. Students from the same department are in one or two classes, so they generally organize activities and compete as a class. What I find interesting are Girls’ Festival and Boys’ Festival. In Girls’ Festival, all guys will do things for girls, such as cooking breakfast and giving out snacks. In Boys’ Festival, girls will always come up with great ideas to celebrate it for guys. I also asked about the class registration system, since DART receives many complaints. Hopefully, other schools’ practice can help Notre Dame figure out better ways to register for classes. I also visited Peking University Library, the largest library in Asia and caught up with PKU GVI friends, who visited Notre Dame in spring and held a case competition with SIBC.
Generally speaking, people from northern part of China have different accent, food culture and ways of social interaction than those from southern part like me. Beijing people like noodles and hotpot. They are very welcoming and would like to talk to you about various life events, “laoker” in Chinese. Beijing is also an international city with a lot of foreign people. I see how Beijing is a more global and larger city than my hometown Nanjing. So far, I enjoy such an immersion trip.
Here are some photos.
Dr. Noble speaking at the ND Alumni Picnic
Secilia and I at the East Gate of Tsinghua University
Sundial at Tsinghua University
At the front gate of Peking University
Where we live, IC card and me on the train to Beijing:)
Watching ballet show in Peking University with my friend