Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Campus Life

Finals week approaches, and so I took a picture of one of my classes (about 45 students officially enrollled), and their dormitories (grad students are 4-5 per dorm, a bed and small desk; undergrads are closer to 8 per room). All students must shower in a bath hall outside the dorms, and walk back and forth in the sub-freezing temperatures. Life in the dorm is primarily about studying; late into the night with a small lamp, or going to the library; relatively little socializing occurs in the dorms, and most are strictly regulated by gender. As one can see, it is cramped, little personal space, though with heat in winter, no AC in summer. Students are surprisingly like American students at college in the classroom, mobile phone usage, want to take an easy path to complete the course, not happy about their grades. The main difference is that Chinese students in high school (in China this is called Middle School/Zhong Xue), are remarkably diligent and disciplined, college is a time to take it somewhat easy, and grad school is even easier, though building pressure to find a job.

But, we all had one collective diversion, which was a fabulous concert sponsored by the US Embassy and featuring will.i.am and apl.de.ap from Black-Eyed Peas, joined by Coco Lee in the role of Fergie (better IMO, especially the more recent Fergie). They belted out their electronified hits, with awesome video backing and lights, and great back-up dancers; and in a rather cavernous National Indoor Stadium, the 'got it started' for sure. Its amazing to see energy created out of nothing! I had about 40 students go along. I liked all the performers John Legend was soulful, Sa Dingding was exotic, flourishing, with a beautiful red dress spinning with a Silk Road sound; Sunza was good; connected to the crowd; Coco Lee knew how to work the crowd as well, with her bilingual abilities (like Shunza); and could move when she joined the Black Eyed Peas. A concert clip on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsasnETT6RU&feature=related
It was really a great show, especially the end. In two days, head back to the US for 10 days for the holidays.

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