First day in SYSU

“SYSU is one of the most traditional universities in South China. It is also one of the top universities in China following Peking University, QingHua University, HongKong University, etc. It was named after the “Founding Father” of China 孙中山 Sun Yat Sen.”

So I read on a brief introduction on my orientation manual.

First day in SYSU, however, was a confusing day for me, to be honest. I walked around the school campus again and again, trying to find the Registrar office and Admission Office to register as business exchange student in SYSU. While I was looking for them, I realized just how different the education system was here. Each college has a separate admission and registrar office. However the students here have advisors just for their majors, just like us. When I finally found the offices, I encountered another problems.

“Who is my advisor? Classmates? What I have classmates here? Find my class monitor? What? Who? How? Wait why?”

I could see the student assistant’s head started spinning as I bombarded her with questions in English sounded more like blah blah blah. Poor her.

But I still need answers. So I waited patiently for her to wrap her head around my long list of questions. After thirty seconds, she smiled politely and asked: “Pardon me for my poor English. But can you explain your question in Chinese again?”

Ok I guess the first thing every exchange student will learn here is this: when in Rome, do what Romans do.

After half an hour of labored communication—trust me you will need more than just language skills to communicate with Chinese—we finally figured out what we need to do to get me started in SYSU. HALELUJAH!! I patted myself on the shoulder for my improvement in patience and understanding.

My advisor welcomed my with a warm smile and helped me understand the very different course selection process here. I must sit in to every class I intend to take here, and have the professor sign on my course selection log. Yes ladies and gentlemen, we use paper registration here, well, along with online registration but that is another story I have to spend another day on.

So I walked out of the office and headed for my first option, Advanced Corporate Finance. When I searched for the course location, I went step by step. East campus, checked. Teaching Area, Checked. Public Teaching Building A, Checked. Room 105, Checked. So I am supposed in the right classroom right? Why is everyone staring at me like I am foreign? Wait, I am foreign. But I did everything right, right?

Then I realized the problem. Textbook and course materials, unchecked.

Oh my, my journey here had just started!

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