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Zhengzhou University of Light Industry

Zhengzhou University of Light Industry (郑州轻工业学院) is where I spent a good chunk of my time while in China. There isn’t much about the place on the internet. I was told the buildings are mostly from the 1960s. To be perfectly honest, the place can use some major renovations. The classrooms aren’t heated (or cooled in the summer). The vegetation on the campus that was supposed to be green looked rather gray, matching many of the buildings and the polluted sky. If you ever find yourself here, be sure to check out the copy center and a restroom or two. Just make sure you don’t have to actually use the copy center or a restroom.

The above photo is from a classroom on the third story of one of the buildings from which I was teaching. Notice that the campus is completely devoid of students while classes are in session. This is different from any university I have ever experienced. Students are in class, on time, and none leave early.

Compare that situation to when the bell rings (yes a bell rings to signal the end of class–another thing I’ve never experienced at a university), and all students are moving away from class to go off campus to eat. The campus shuts down for two and half hours for lunch. Very different.

Some of my Chinese students wanted me to see their dorm. All students are required to live in the dorms. Students complain about college dorm life all over the world, but a visit to a Chinese dormitory will make anyone living in any other dorm feel very fortunate.

The above photo is of the shared balconies. Sixteen students share a single, small balcony to try to dry their laundry in the cold, smoggy air.

Eight students share each room, although there is little room outside of the four bunk beds. There is one study table in the middle of the beds shared by all (or more likely used to put things on so students can sit on their bed which is where they normally have to store their things).

In the back corner is a small room with a hole in the floor for a toilet. A shower and sink are also in the back corner room, but I was told the showers aren’t used because the water isn’t heated; in fact, it isn’t even warmed. Plus, all the water (mostly for doing laundry in the little sink) has to be carried up several flights of stairs. Electricity is on a strict quota so if students use up their quota power is cut to their room.

Despite such unfavorable living conditions, these eight (only five are pictured with me) seemed to get along great, and they were usually smiling.

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