By Qingcheng Huang, the OISS 2012 Summer Intern
Hi everyone, I’m Qingcheng Huang, a student intern for the Office of International Students and Scholars at Yale University. I study American Literature at Peking University in Beijing, China. I came here because I felt that it was a great opportunity for me to see what the American university life was really like. I saw the internship posting in the Office of International Affairs at my university, and now here I am in New Haven!
During my spare time, I love hiking, touring, swimming and practicing yoga. I have been in New Haven for about two days, and except sleeping in the dorm, my days are spent rushing from one place to another.
Yale University is quite different from other universities I've known. Yale and New Haven kind of mix together. The offices of the university are scattered around the town, which can often make a newcomer feel confused.
I arrived at Phelps Gates at midnight last Saturday after a 39-hour journey. (My flight was delayed in London.) Even though I was exhausted, I was still stunned by the castle-like student dorms. The evening shadows, gargoyles, and the dim light of the beautiful chandeliers make it look like a scene in a fairy-tale or a Harry Potter story. I kind of envy the students here who are staying for a longer time.
I’d say that I’m also happy to find that Wireless connections are almost everywhere (Although in some places the signal is not so good, e.g. my dorm). I’m also surprised to find there are churches everywhere (and they might be totally different from each other!). I can hear the bells ringing from the tower from my dorm room in Pierson College, which is a really special experience.
Today I went on a campus tour offered by the Yale Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is hiding in a courtyard and might be missed without special attention. Once inside I watched a video called "That’s Why I Chose Yale", which was a smart musical introduction about the shining points of Yale.
We started our tour from the New Haven Green. Our beautiful tour guide explained that the park used to be a graveyard. While the headstones were moved away, the bodies remained under the lawn. This fact made our group feel cool on such a hot day.
Then we headed to Old Campus. The story about the Theodore Dwight Woolsey statue felt familiar to me because in China we have similar story about a statue which is said to bring good luck. Please notice his toes. Yale students rub his foot for good luck.
I started to realize that there are numerous similarities between America and China. I used to think that no one in the U.S. would cross a street when the light is red, but it turns out that it is OK to go if there are no cars coming. Also, we have to stay in queue for a long time sometimes (to handle registration, for example).
Also, I noticed that the bulletin boards on the campus are filled with advertisements looking for volunteers to help with psychology experiments. This is also common at my Chinese university. We can easily find these advertisements on our school BBS back in China.
Yale is kind of like an old architecture museum. This is the Sterling Memorial Library, which is a unique church-style library. I even found Issac Newton's portrait within the stained glass.
Our tour also visited the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library where a lot of old books are kept in a large glass box. I found the Gutenberg Bible in one of the display cabinets. Our tour guide explained that they turn the page of this Bible every two weeks.
At the end of the tour we visited Broadway, a commercial street filled with books, clothes and cosmetics. A singer played his guitar, sometimes a motorbike or a car roared by playing really loud music, and pedestrians walked by hastily. I can't believe that this is only my second day at Yale.
Besides the English language, the crowd of non-Chinese people on the street, I would say that I feel much at home here. Oh, I should also add that the food in the dining hall seems very different to me.
Links to attractions mentioned in this post: