Reflections on 2018 NPU QMUL Summer School(5)
Very quietly I left
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of the cloud will I bring away.
■Famous Chinese Poet, Xu Zhimo
During the NPU-QMUL Summer Camp, all the forty students are divided into eight groups, exploring London and other cities in England, enjoying the different cultures and environment and having different lectures and experiments.
On the third day of our Summer Camp, we went to Cambridge, a city with a famous world-class university. At the same time, it is famous for the poem“Saying good-bye to Cambridge again”.
In the morning at 9 am, we got on the bus to head for our destination. It took us more than one hour to get there. Then all the groups were permitted to travel by themselves for the rest of the day. So our group walked forward in the campus and started our life as Cambridge-rs.
First, we went to the King’s college at Cambridge University and took some beautiful pictures. Then, we noticed a river aside and many people were taking the boat on it. So, we made a decision to take a boat and tried to boat by ourselves. In the last hour, we had a quite unique experience. Although controlling the boat is hard and a little dangerous, we still felt happy and relaxed.
After the boating, we all got hungry, and the signboard outside cafe helped us a lot. As we find the typical Britain food–fish and chips on it. Thus, we had a very pleasant lunch. When we were having lunch, another student at Cambridge Summer Camp from QMES joined our group. He became our guide and helped us a lot.
In the afternoon, we went to the Trinity College, laboratory of Cavendish and laboratory of physical chemistry with our guide. We took a lot of photos, talked a lot and even paid a visit to the dormitory of Cambridge University, and in this way, we got much information about the Cambridge projects.
I think the travel to Cambridge must be very impressive, meaningful and educational in the two weeks of summer school. What I saw and heard is not only what I should learn but also what my homeland should learn. When the bus was moving on the freeway, the yellow field and blue sky really impressed me a lot. This scenery does look like an idyll. London used to be a city with heavy pollution several decades ago. But now, due to the hard-working of the government, the environment is really clean and beautiful. Nowadays, China is suffering the pollution. If my country wants to make a difference, I think Britain will be a good model.
Besides, the people in Britain also left a deep impression on me. They were very polite and enthusiastic. I remembered when we arrived at the destination, the bus driver said: “Have a nice trip”. And when our teams were seeking a restaurant which served fish and chips, a waiter in another cafe was willing to guide us as his cafe did not sell the dish. Furthermore, when we paid the bill, the waiter would say“Thank you very much”. I think the gentlemen style is never out of fashion in Britain. On the contrary, it takes root in everyone on this land.
Last but not least, the academic atmosphere of Cambridge University still made me shocked. The grades of every student in this University would be ranked and put on the notice board. And the plagiarism of the students would also be put on the notice board. When I was very young, I had already known this famous university. Now I went here, maybe I found some reason why it is famous. In fact, a good university will really teach us something to some degree.
On August 1st, 2018, we went for a trip to Cambridge University. There are two things that impressed me a lot. First, I was really shocked when I found that the Cambridge was actually a city instead of a university, and it even had its own traffic system. This phenomenon cannot be easily seen in China, and I have never seen it before. And students from all over the world can also be seen on the campus. In my mind, a great university can attract people in the whole world, and the qualified people will improve the university in reverse. Thus, many universities in China should change to be more open-minded and make more international communications. Second, when boating on the river of Cambridge, I saw some students wearing uniforms act as boatman and introduce every spot around the river to the passengers. In this way, they can earn extra amounts of money, which could partly support their living. In comparison, students in China should be more independent. As far as I know, most of the Chinese students do not take a part-time job, and even fewer students can pay for their own tuitions on their own.”
The day in Cambridge was one of the most impressive days for me in British.
When we came to the river-boating activity, our group decided to boat by ourselves. Now I really feel it a fantastic decision. During the process of rowing, I and my group members could not only appreciate the beauty of the coast but also enjoy the great feeling of controlling the boat on our own. Besides, throughout the boating process by myself, I have found my boating skills and group working skills slightly improved. I have gained a lot from this experience.
In Cambridge, I also met my schoolmates and some of my friends which were in the Cambridge Program. In ancient China, there was a saying that “Running across an old friend in a distant land” is one of the happiest things in one’s life. So I think I was lucky enough to meet them. It gave me a deep impression to meet and communicate with them about life experiences in British.
In such a university with great academic atmosphere, I was deeply fascinated by the scene and the people there. Hopefully one day in the future I can be admitted by this university.
In the minds of undergraduates, Cambridge should be one of the aspirations of most of us. It means hitting Newton's apple tree, Cavendish's lab, and the Chinese famous poet Xu Zhimo. It means a paradise for academics and ideas.
But what we see most in Cambridge is a variety of summer tours that take up almost the entire outdoors. We wonder whether such summer schools still exist in the sense of learning. Being a tourist in one of the top academic destinations shouldn't be the original intention of summer schools.
But to our relief, our summer school is really exposed to knowledge. Two weeks is a very limited time, but we did three experiments, two days of lectures, and two presentations. We are relieved, at least, that we have done something meaningful.
I was immediately attracted to the beautiful scenery and traditional British style architectures. This old town retained the scenery before the industrial age. In the King’sCollege, I felt that I was overwhelmed by the church’s solemnity. I know that Christianity is an influential religion in the UK, and the influence can be clearly seen in a university. As for rowing boat on River Cam, it was quite a different enjoyment. As I cannot swim, this experience was intense and exciting for me. And I felt that I was a little bit braver after that.
Walking around the famous university, where a lot of famous people had studied, I was surprised by the rich and profound academic background.
I had a fun time in Cambridge. The beautiful scenery, historical building, sacred church and great university all impressed me greatly. Although time is limited and I cannot search this small town thoroughly, I hope one day that I can further my study in this famous university.
By Long Yuheng, Wei Yuxuan, Chen Haochuan, Liu Xinyi, Zheng Jiasheng