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Say It Right Series

Studying in China. Segregation

Posted by tianfeng June 29, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

This will not be the same questions that most people ask (what school show I go to? Is ----- a good choice?) because I lived in China I taught at universities and I already know what it is like. I am wondering if anyone here has or is studying in China now and how segregated they were from the rest of the student population. I am starting at the end of aug at Zheda and I plan on getting an apartment off campus. Right now I am not loaded with cash so I was hoping to live in the cheap Chinese dorm until I find a place with my brother. My Japanese baseball teammates told me that at 北京外贸大学 they were paying about 200 rmb per month. That sounded great to me because all I am looking for is a place to stay when I am tired and to keep my books. I also want to be involved in the universities student life. I was, however, told that at Zheda that I am not allowed to live with the Chinese students. I am only allowed to live in the separate foreign dorm that costs 10 times as much and only foreigners are allowed. I am also not allowed to play on the official university sports team because I am a foreigner. I am a pretty good basketball player and I played for my university in Canada. I was hoping I could tryout for the university team and make some friends quick but it look like that a no go.

Anyone who has seen a Chinese dorm is probably wondering why the hell I would want to live there anyway. Despite their cramped quarters and communal facilities, I still think it would be the best way to fit in. I know I am always going to be a foreigner and I am proud to be Canadian, but I could be a student and a roommate to some rather than just another foreigner. Maybe I am just overreacting to the segragation but it does set up walls between foreign and Chinese people. I worked at an english summer camp as a teacher and was the same age as all of the university students who were working with me. I, however, was put up in an entirely different building and had a single room while they stayed in a room next to the students. It really separated us at first and I feel I wold have rather stayed with them. In the end we worked past it but they were not even allowed to come to my room and hang out.

I hope this separation dosen't make it hard to enjoy my time there. I can't believe that there is even a separate cafeteria for foreign students. If anyone has had any experience with this while studying or just in everyday life let me know.

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