Two different universities; two different seasons
After reading an article on Tsinghua University by a colleague, I decided to take a trip and see what it was like. It’s easy in Beijing to take the subway but as usual I hired a driver as I was also going furniture shopping at Gaobiedian Street afterwards – and with my penchant for buying all things Chinese, I knew I would need somewhere to store my purchases..but back to the university…
Its grounds are lovely. They include a couple of lakes and many trees which at the time I went, were just about to blossom so whilst it was a bit chilly, it made for a nice walk.
Tsinghua University a research university and was established in 1911 as “Tsinghua College,” and renamed to “Tsinghua School” in 1912 and “National Tsinghua University” in the 1920s.
Tsinghua University describes itself as being dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of Chinese society and to global development. There is a Lovers Lake located on the grounds – aptly named during my visit as the first thing I saw on the ground was a torn condom packet!!
Whilst I was studying Chinese in Beijing in 2011, I also went to another university; Peking University. This time I went in winter and it was such a lovely day out – a group of us took the subway and like Tsinghua, the grounds are really lovely.
Peking University is the first modern national university established in China, founded as the “Imperial University of Peking” in 1898 as a replacement of the Imperial Academy. It also served as the highest administration for education in China at the beginning of its founding.
In addition to academics, Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds and its beautiful traditional Chinese architecture.
Throughout its history, the university has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese thinkers and also said to have taught Mao Zedong, but I am not sure if this is true.
Peking University was influential in the birth of China’s New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tian’anmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events. No protesting students were seen during our visit only a partly frozen lake with skaters. The bare trees and frozen ground did not make the views bleak, in fact it was very beautiful walking around and enjoying the tranquility. I particularly loved the reflections of the buildings and trees against the lake.
Alongside Peking University, Tsinghua University has consistently ranked as the top higher learning institution in mainland China. Both universities are rated high also in world rankings; Peking at 46 and Tsinghua at 52. I must say my favourite grounds are Peking; for me I loved the huge lake and pagoda.