Beijing: LSE-PKU Summer School – Exploring the Chinese Culture and History

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This summer, I have a chance to step into Beijing, China as a participant in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – Peking University (PKU) Summer School, which was held in Peking University. The specific course I had taken up was the “Economics of Gender” in an Asian perspective delivered by the experienced Dr. Judith Shapiro. I have learned a lot on why gender balance plays a role in economics development and the insight on how the Chinese culture are associated with the mentality of Chinese families in evaluating the role of a female and a male. The program is intensively structured. It’s a challenging yet rewarding experience as it was my first time being challenged to dive in straight to a topic in depth in this short amount of time with assessments following suit one after another. The classroom’s learning atmosphere was what exceeded my expectation. We had classmates coming from different countries, background and vary from professions, giving us a dynamic discussion on the topic. I was fortunate to meet all these amazing people through the course and the program.

Another reason that excites my visit is the opportunity to experience the culture in China for the first time as a Chinese myself. The course was packed with schedules and I could only stay for the length of the course. Hence some of us did some visiting after class whenever it’s possible. Beijing is huge but majority of the attractions can be easily accessed by boarding the metro. I have travelled to most of my attractions using metro except to the Great Wall of China where I joined the trip organised by the summer school. Hence, I would imagine getting to some parts of the Great Wall will be slightly challenging if you’re entirely depending on public transport. A number of attractions do offer discount for students studying in China so make sure you take advantage of that during your visit if applicable.

Below are some photos that I have captured throughout my journey which I hope could give a brief view and help those who are thinking to adventure to this part of the world.

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West gate of the university is the most symbolic part of the entrance. Hence, there are full of tourists taking photos of the stunning gate of this prominent university in the country.

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One of the lunches I had in the university canteens. The prices are affordable and I was surprised on the number of canteens and the variety of stores they have on campus. They have convenient stores from haircut salon to fruit-selling stall.

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The summer school organised a few other program on top of the daily curiculum. LSE-PKU Roundtable is one of them which the panelist discuss a number of current affairs that deemed to be challenging for the future and their opinion. It’s an informative 2-hour that shouldn’t be missed.

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The ‘Boya Pagoda’ on campus. This view is part of the reason why there are tonnes of tourists queueing outside the gate, requesting to visit the campus everyday.

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Peking university is huge and with a few entrances (or gate), each leading you to a different part of the university. There is a metro stop at the east gate of the university, making communting much easier.

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Night market in Wangfujing.

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The school has also organized a Saturday visit to Mutianyu, the Great Wall. There was a fee charged but completely optional. There are so much sweat and efforts to hike up behind all these smiles. With Rosie (left) and Loes (left).

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We were brought to Mutianyu section of the Great wall where its not so tourist attracted and hence was not very crowded, its nice as it gave more room to enjoy the hike and more room to explore.

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A few of us went to Nanluoguxiang after class. Its easily accessible by metro.
Nanluoguxiang is one of the famous hutong in china. Hutong is basically alleyway that still keeps its traditional Chinese architecture. There are lots of stores selling foods, shops selling things ranging from traditional Chinese folding fans to water bottles, and no surprise, its full of people too.

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Picture taken in Temple of Heaven. It is an imperial complex of religious building in a big park. It is reachable by taking the metro to ‘Tiantan’ stop.

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There are a lot of elder citizens could be seen playing Chinese chesse or card in the park on the corridor benches.

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The Forbidden City (or also known as the Palace Museum) and Tiananmen Square -The most crowded places of all. I kept mentioning that it was crowded for almost all the attractions I have visited, after all its China. But believe me, the forbidden city and Tiananmen square have taken this crowd level to another level. And, visiting here during a weekend is the most annoying thing you can do to yourself.

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The Forbidden City. Imagining the crowd in this attraction.

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With its history, culture and people. Picture taken in the Forbidden City.

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Opposite the North Gate of Forbidden city, there is Jingshan Park which offers a stunning view of the whole Forbidden City at the peak. Ticket fee is around 2 yuan. The air quality is, as can be seen, not as decent. It is very advisable to stay hydrated.

Lastly, I would want to express my sincere gratitude to Principal’s Go Abroad Fund who had made this journey possible and thank you for all the supports given throughout the journey.

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