The long trek across the Pacific is over and I’ve successfully arrived in Shanghai, China. But what exactly am I doing here, you ask? Well if one year of studying, papers, classes and a 60 page dissertation wasn’t enough…I’ve opted for a second. For the next 10 months, I will be studying and taking classes at the Journalism School of Fudan University in pursuit of another Masters degree (this time in Journalism). Okay, so who in the world takes journalism classes in CHINA–a country that censors its own press, regulates content to maintain state control and unapologetically blocks new media sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and blogging portals like ..ahem…the one you’re reading right now? (Click here for more information on Chinese media and Censorship). Well, these are some solid questions, but first? Let’s start at the beginning. Here is some general information about Fudan University.
Founded in 1905, Fudan U is the 3rd ranked University in the mainland of China (Peking University and Tsinghua University take the number 1 and 2 ranks). Predominantly known for its Arts and Humanities programs, the University scores 45 amongst the world’s top 50 Humanities studies.
Beginning in 1950, Fudan was one of the first Chinese institutions to enroll international students. Since then, it has accepted and trained over 10,000 foreign students from 100 different countries and regions worldwide. A good example is my Journalism program. It consists of only 11 students, but represents 9 different countries and nationalities.
Tradition, Modernity & Chairman Mao
As pictured in my last post, the Fudan campus is large and sprawling, with wide tree lined streets, gorgeous green quads and traditional Chinese streams, bridges and alcoves. Here are photos of the main campus (named the Handan Campus) which I must admit, is much more impressive than the LSE campus and loads more culturally interesting than my undergrad college.
But like the city of Shanghai itself, Fudan University is a mix of traditional Chinese architecture and design, contrasted by warp-speed modernity and technology. Check out the “Twin Towers” below. These very modern structures stand in the center of campus and soar 460 feet in the air. Reportedly, they are the tallest buildings to ever be constructed within a Chinese institution. Unfortunately, I don’t have any classes in either of these buildings, but I make a point to visit frequently as the lobby alone feels like a 4 star hotel.
Lastly, amongst the traditional Chinese gardens and impressive modern architecture, the campus also includes the (not so subtle) reminder that this is indeed a Communist state. A very large statue of Chairman Mao stands behind the University’s main gates.
The below banner was hung in front of the statue during the University’s orientation week.
The banner reads: Fudan University Fires your Dream & Starts Your Journey to Glory!
With a slogan like that, what could ever go wrong?
Click here for more photos of life at Fudan U.