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Ep Ⅱ | What are PKUers doing during the summer holidays?

AUG . 11 2020
Peking University, August 11, 2020: Editor's Note: The autumn semester has come to a close, and the summer holidays are almost halfway over! From volunteering to trying out new activities at home, PKUers around the world get creative in spending their summertime.


Neo Xuan Ling from School of International Studies

"I had a fun time over the summer break doing what I love - dancing! My close group of friends decided to do a dance cover of Blackpink's recent release How You Like That and although we ended up with many bruises after filming, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves~ Wish I could go back to PKU soon to dance with friends!"

Rao Haiting from School of Economics

"Ever since the quarantine and online classes started during the late February, the Covid-19 situation in Singapore had been on a downward spiral. Although the pandemic is mostly under control now, gatherings larger than 5 are still not allowed and movement is restricted around the island. Thus, I've been attempting to pick up new hobbies and skills, spend precious time with friends and family and to revise for my university modules.
During the past few weeks, I've been self-learning Japanese through online courses and textbooks, as I believed that learning a new language could enrich my knowledge and improve my communication skills. Reading and dancing to popular choreographies are also activities which I've been trying to get accustomed to, so that there's continuous motivation for me to keep fit and spend free time in a meaningful way. Furthermore, I've started to bake pastries as a form of pastime, so that I'm capable of feeding myself someday! I've attempted to bake pineapple tarts, pancakes, muffins, cookies and biscuits and I've received compliments from my family so I hope to continue this pastime in the future~
Last but not least, I think the most important part of staying home for holiday, during the quarantine period, is self-care. By regulating my study and sleep schedule, I hope to keep myself distracted with hobbies and spend time with my loved ones. Looking forward, I hope to explore more around Singapore to discover interesting and eye-catching scenery around the island!"

United States

Jessica Xu from School of International Studies

"These past few months have seen so much change, yet I am still in the same place, doing the same thing every day. When the coronavirus first hit America, it felt ironic that I had been relieved to leave Beijing before the pandemic began there. As the pandemic escalated in California, quarantine began. Just like every other person who begins quarantine, it started off as an interesting and almost entertaining thing to do. Memes were posted on the internet, everybody was trying to make light of the situation, and no one thought it would go on for this long. As the U.S. was pushing for reopening of businesses (although we were not fully prepared to reopen), the Black Lives Matter movement was sparked by George Floyd's death in May. Protests broke out in states all around the country, and the movement took over the internet. The moments during and after this movement is the part of quarantine I want to highlight.
The Black Lives Matter movement flooded the internet. On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, many people were posting about systemic racism, white supremacy, and how the death of George Floyd was one of many deaths caused by systemic racism and core issues in the police system. These issues were news to me, and I was beginning to learn about new concepts and issues in my own country that I previously had very shallow knowledge of. The Black Lives Matter movement was only the beginning of a time of unlearning previous misconceptions and educating oneself with facts. As a middle-class Asian American, I realized the privilege I had to not worry about the issues Black citizens had to fight against everyday. This movement sparked introspection and a motivation to educate myself about society, my country, and the world. These issues may make me uncomfortable, or they may not even directly affect me. However, education, awareness, and action can be powerful in building a more accepting and supportive community.
Virtually overnight, through this shift in online discussions, my quarantine became educational and introspective. Even now, I am learning about new things everyday. How has society promoted gender norms, and how can we be aware of them? What can we do to help the Yemen crisis? How has society created rape culture, and how can we change that? These questions, to this day, flood my Instagram (the social media platform I use the most), and challenges me to widen my perspective on certain issues. More importantly, I am slowly learning to face these issues head on, even if they make me feel uncomfortable by challenging my beliefs and values. Although it seems small to only be educating yourself and those around you, these small efforts to change perspectives can affect a community as a whole. I'm glad that I was able to go through this internal journey, have thoughtful and meaningful discussions with the people around me, and learn about new things during this quarantine. This time of 'isolation' has transformed from an entertaining time to a meaningful, informative, and enlightening time."


Peng Sizhuo from Guanghua School of Management

"It was very lucky for me to have selected the Introduction to the Spanish Culture, a course that covers Spain's history, cuisine, festivals, customs and tourism. What really surprised me was that Prof. Song live-streamed the process of cooking his specialties: Tortilla de Patata (a potato pie with scrambled eggs), a kind of cheesecake whose name had eluded me, and, of course, the renowned Mojito. With much excitement, I prepared the raw materials in advance and followed the cooking process step by step. What I finally made, much to my disappointment, was nothing but a pile of terrible swill. Mojito, nonetheless, was quite a success. All in all, Hispanic cultures really fascinate me, and I'm more than excited to visit these countries some time!
Not only that, I've also been learning Spanish over the passing year, and this summer vacation allowed me to study this language more systematically. After fully mastering this language, I plan to learn Italian and also Latin!
This pandemic has literally turned me into a couch potato. Like most people, I presume, I've gained roughly 3 kilos during my quarantine at home. Sadly, my knowledge didn't grow as much as my weight, and I've made up my mind to lose weight and cheer up, after realizing last weekend that I couldn't fit in any T-shirt and trousers I'd bought last year."

Writer: Estella Zhang Qiming, Li Wanqi
Editor: Pu Hairui