Tag Archives: 信息学院

The Math Globe on Camphor Way

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The College Town in Wujin is essentially three streets that run parallel east to west. There is Gehu Road that passes by the north gate of Changzhou University and two vocational colleges. Then, there is Mingxin Road to the south. This passes the south gates of Changzhou College of Information Technology, the Mechatronics College, and the Light Industrial College. The B1, B16, and 2 buses all use this road. Camphor Way, however, is the road between the two. It’s usually partially gated and closed to through / shortcut traffic. In a way, it serves as park without being named as such. At night, you see college students walking or jogging  here. Couples often cuddle together on secluded benches.

One of the more “Changzhou iconic” sculptures is here. It’s a circular globe made of metal disks. The sides of these discs have mathematical equations and important educational quotes engraved onto them. I have seen photographs of this thing turn up in books and other bits of promotional literature for the city. As for its location, it’s on the eastern end of Camphor Way. It’s between Changzhou University’s south gate and Changzhou College of Information Technology’s north gate.

Freshman on the March

Recently, I found this picture while surfing through my Changzhou photo folder on Facebook.

Before taking a job at Hohai University, I taught for two years at the Changzhou College of Information Technology (CCIT) in Changzhou’s southern Wujin district. Essentially, it’s a vocational school — similar in spirit to the many community colleges I have taught English at in North Carolina and in New Jersey. Vocational students are not university students. It would be silly to equate the two. For example, you would not put Coastal Carolina Community College on the same level with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Many students have gone to CCCC because their grades were not good enough for UNCW or other institutions within the University of North Carolina system..

However, there are still a number of drastic differences between American colleges and what you might find in Chinese higher education. At this point, I’m just going to point to the biggest one: mandatory military training. It is something high school seniors and incoming college freshman must do.

At the beginning of every school year, new freshman must don military uniforms. Classes are assigned drill sergeants, and the students learn to march in formation, chant patriotic slogans. Sometimes they hold fake, dummy rifles, and sometimes they do not. During this time, these students do not attend any classes. Their job is basically march, march, march. Afterwards? March around some more!

In the College Town / 大学城 part of Wujin, there are six  institutions clustered together. Each college has its own, distinctive uniform. Some have different colors of camouflage, and some students look more like officers. It’s done this way, I guess, to tell students apart. Pretty much, they walk around all day wearing these uniforms.

I am neither applauding nor criticizing the practice. I’m pointing out what is, essentially, a reality on Chinese college campuses at the start of fall semester. I have seen it twice now, and it never stops being a slightly surreal spectacle to behold.