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How are New PKUers Faring in the New Semester?

NOV . 06 2020
Peking University, November 16, 2020: Editor's Note: We're nearly two months into the new semester, and our freshmen from all around the world are getting accustomed to the PKU way of life, whether on campus or abroad. In this article, 5 new students from different countries and faculties share about their journey thus far, and what they look forward to as a PKUer.


Malaysia: Hoo Zi Ning from Guanghua School of Management

Describe your first month in a word. Why have you chosen to use that word?

Decent. Since school has started, I'm struggling with my studies. I'm so busy that there is no time for anything but class and homework. However, I've joined the student union organized by my faculty and it is a group full of wonderful people to work with, and I really enjoy discussing and working on tasks with them.

What is your favourite class this semester?

Economics, I have much interest in Economics and lecturers have used a lot of actual examples while teaching that make the class interesting.

What do you like about PKU so far?

For me, it is a place which nurtures me to be more mature and thoughtful. Historical buildings in PKU always remind me to appreciate what I have and be humble. Besides, all those professional lecturers with cool heads and warm hearts make me firmly believe that PKU is the place that I want to study for four years.


How many midterm exams do you have and how are you preparing?

I'm sitting for two subjects during midterm exams. It will be very tough and I think that good time management will be the key of success. Besides, practicing on past exam papers is helpful to identify key subject areas to focus on in revision and understand likely exam time length. Keep drinking plenty of water throughout our revision and on the exam day is essential too as being well hydrated helps our brain to work at its best.

What is something you are looking forward to?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to study through class recordings, I'm looking forward to entering China so that I could join all classes on campus. Besides, I wish to be there to join some exciting activities, hang out with classmates, and explore the beauty of culture in Beijing.

Morocco: Zayed Bennani from PHBS Business School

Describe your first month in a word. Why have you chosen to use that word?

Enriching, as I moved to a new country (United Kingdom), met amazing people, and learnt about new interesting topics. The culture and values of PKU promote development and intellect. This helped me quickly adopt some good habits that promote my personal development. Moreover, the students from various different backgrounds helps not only to improve our cross-cultural communication but also our cultural intelligence.

What is your favourite class this semester?

My favourite class is Financial Accounting. I enjoy it as the professor constantly attempts to find appealing teaching methods that will simplify the topic and engage the students.

What do you like about PKU so far?

There are many things I like about PKU, but the most important one is the environment it provides its students with. PKU offers students a collaborative environment that promotes knowledge and growth. I thrive in a collaborative environment, and I relished the opportunity to engage with other students and work together to share ideas and complete projects.


How many midterm exams do you have and how are you preparing?

As we are almost at the end of the block, I have had two midterms and two projects. I prefer to start my revisions early, pick the adequate revision location, and to create an effective study guide.

What is something you are looking forward to?

I look forward to diving deeper into financial courses and financial concepts. Moreover, I am also looking forward to gaining new perspectives of the world, by learning more about the Chinese culture, including the Guangdong culture.

United States: Adela Hurtado from Yenching Academy

Describe your first month in a word. Why have you chosen to use that word?

Successful. Despite the Yenching Academy being virtual now, I am always surprised by how successful we have been in getting to know each other, having fun, and learning. My classmates have gone above and beyond setting up get-togethers, game nights, virtual parties, and other activities for us. We have set up our own clubs to discuss different topics too, such as the one I helped co-found, the Latin America China Club. At first, a virtual program experience seems daunting, but through all of our hard work and ideas, we've made the Yenching Academy successful.

What is your favourite class this semester?

It's hard to pick, but it would be Reading Classical Chinese Literature! The classics never get old!

What do you like about PKU so far?

What I love the most is that through my program I am learning so much more about China than I ever would have expected. I am on the Law & Society and Arts tracks, but I have learned much more than that. I have studied China for many years already, whether on my own or in college and law school, but every day during these classes I am introduced to something new by some great professors.


How many midterm exams do you have and how are you preparing?

I have mid-term papers and final papers for every class I have. I also have a Mandarin final exam. It seems like a lot, but honestly, I am enjoying myself so much that it doesn't feel like work. I'm preparing by taking notes in class, asking the professors questions, and doing my best! Being at Yenching Academy you have to pace yourself, as it's a marathon, not a sprint!

What is something you are looking forward to?

Getting to the beautiful Peking University campus and meeting my classmates in person! It'll be wonderful to finally experience China together.

Republic of Korea: Hyunsoo Jung from Yuanpei College

Describe your first month in a word. Why have you chosen to use that word?

After finishing a difficult three weeks of isolation, and when I entered the Peking University campus, I was thrilled. As a freshman, I was excited to experience the school life, and adapt into a new culture. Fortunately, I adapted quicker than I expected, almost like a fish in the water. Due to the increase in all the assignments and so many things that I had to deal with as a freshman, I had to study very hard, and need to 'reborn' as a true PKUer. I would describe my life so far at PKU as "a shot of arrows"!

What is your favourite class this semester?

The most impressive class so far was 'Political Economics'. I found out that political economics is a former form of all Economic Studies that we know now, and the process of learning more about China's most representative Marxism was very interesting to me.

What do you like about PKU so far?

The best thing about Peking University so far is that the overall atmosphere of the school is warm and cozy. The school area itself is huge, but I loved how the student community tries to get closer and get to know each other on a very small scale. It was touching to see how all PKUers collect spirits together this way in such a big campus. Also, the scenery of the campus is very beautiful and overwhelming. Going to school to take classes almost feels like going on a walk at a nice park.


How many midterm exams do you have and how are you preparing?

I have about 8 exams this semester. But I think there are also quite a few courses that the exams are being replaced as papers. Therefore, I am planning to concentrate more on preparing for the exam by writing my thesis essays in advance because the exam time is expected to be very busy!

What is something you are looking forward to?

I hope that the pandemic will be over as soon as possible and that more students will come back to the Peking University campus. In addition, I am also looking forward to my own development for a wider view of the world under the guidance of professors and education at Peking University.

China: Lin Jiayi from School of International Studies

Describe your first month in a word. Why have you chosen to use that word?

Chaos. Because everything is totally new here - you are blessed with so many choices when facing brand new fields, such as student services, association, to name a few. I haven't been able to strike a balance between studying and afterschool activities yet and it drives me mad. Also, since I come from a southern city, I haven't gotten used to the different lifestyle in PKU, a northern college. However, it does not mean that I always feel desperate. I think Chaos contains all kinds of possibilities, so maybe this situation is the best state I could be in right now.

What is your favourite class this semester?

It's the History of International Relations! I love exploring historical intricacies, and think the past always reveals telling lessons. This is the perfect window to glimpse into IR.

What do you like about PKU so far?

I love the diversity on campus! You get to meet a lot of people in PKU, and can always find what suits you best in a brand new environment. As my faculty has many international students, we also harbor diverse cultures and beliefs. Also, I find it exciting that I get to meet kindred spirits who share the same interests I once thought received little attention. All in all, even if I might not be understood by everyone, I'm very grateful for the generosity and respect teachers and students have shown me.


How many midterm exams do you have and how are you preparing?

At the moment, I only have one midterm exam for my Introduction to Chinese Politics class. I'll be finding some past-year questions, reading through the textbook and reviewing my notes in preparation (hopefully I'll do well!)

What is something you are looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to changes in spirit and mind! As I'm a homebody (really!) and don't prefer exercising, the compulsory sports modules and 63km run requirement is both torture and a sort of training…what will my life be like when exercising becomes a habit?

Writer: Aneka R. Rajbhandari, Li Wanqi
Editor: Amanda Hu, Pu Hairui