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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

With Maastricht University in Beijing

Kunming and Beijing are both Chinese cities but they couldn't be more different!

Last Friday after class it was time to leave for Beijing. Some of my students arranged one of those "private" taxis for me and I was at the airport in no time. A decent flight, a busy airport, a long bus ride and a ride in the subway I arrived at my hostel. The next morning it was time for the Education Fair. Got there in time and had to deal with the standard disorganization that is common for fairs, but luckily I am a foreigner and could walk through everything without the need of a badge (which weren't ready yet...).

The EHEF itself was set up nicely and there was a huge crowd of Chinese (prospective) students, all looking for information in one way or the other. Some took their time to check the brochure and ask questions while others just seemed to be hunting for "old" paper... The most common questions were: what are the requirements to get accepted?, how much does it cost?, do you have any scholarships?. Some of them were genuinely looking for a place to study in the Netherlands while others had absolutely no clue what they were looking for. What you get is the following:
"Hello, can I help you?"
"I want to study."
"What would you like to study?"
"Ehh, maybe biology or business..."
But overall it was a good way for the people of the UM to get to know the Chinese student population. And of course there was also some time for fun! I took the UM people out to hotpot and for a beer at Houhai. On Sunday there was a big dinner for all Maastricht Alumni in Beijing and several deans from the UM. Met some very nice people and we ended up in the Sanlitun bar area in the Q-Bar. I am sure I will see several of the alumni again in the near future.

On Monday I planned to go to the Great Wall, but I was too tired and couldn't be bothered and went to the Temple of Heaven Park instead. Nice place, but definitely not the highlight of Beijing. Later that night again back to the hotpot restaurant with a Canadian and an English couple I met and to Houhai for a "couple" of beers... It got pretty late and drunk, but it was the perfect closing night of a great weekend in Beijing!

Before I end this post I just have to show you this group of Chinese women I came across while I was walking around in the immense Temple of Heaven Park. It seems like they are prepping for a rugby match against the New Zealand All Blacks and want an even better "warrior song"...

That's all. I am going to pack my stuff and head back to Kunming!

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