After exploring the dynastic grandeur of the Forbidden City and Summer Palace as a cohort the day before, we were ready to formally begin the International Practicum at the Communication University of China (CUC) in Beijing. Shortly after enjoying a Chinese breakfast at the Nei Mmenggu (Inner Mongolia) Hotel, we met two CUC students who graciously volunteered to walk us to their campus.
There was an air of excitement as we walked down Dingfuzhuang East Street to the West Entrance of the CUC campus; this was the start of a 2-week immersion into the Chinese culture with the ultimate goal of improving our understanding of how marketing communications works in a worldwide context, and we were about to meet all the other CUC students who would guide us through this first-hand experience.
Upon arrival on campus at the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) we immediately began the welcome reception, where we finally met our CUC counterparts. The ICS Director extended a warm welcome to us and gave a little insight into the university. In particular, it was a surprise to learn that CUC is the only institution in China solely dedicated to communication and the arts, and, as such, is a sister university to Emerson College, which also strives to bring innovation to these two fields.
The welcome reception continued with a brief introduction by each of the students and faculty participating in the practicum. The 14 CUC students – selected out of over 150 applicants to the practicum – represented a variety of schools and research centers at CUC, including the School of Advertising and the Institute for International Journalism. It was also a pleasure to find that our new friends at CUC were equally as eager to interact and share their experiences with us.
Once the welcome reception was over, we set out by subway to the Beijing National Stadium – Bird’s Nest (鸟巢) which was the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. We had learned about the architects of the Bird’s Nest (Herzog and de Meuron) through a research project in our Creative Thinking and Problem Solving course in the fall semester and it was great to finally see the stadium in person.
Although we were not able to enter the Bird’s Nest proper, we were still able to see the architectural detail of the stadium’s exterior. It was also nice to have the CUC students accompany us as they were able to answer the many questions we had about the stadium and the Chinese culture in general. All in all, the day was a rather successful one and a perfect start to the international practicum in Beijing.
P.S. – For the next two weeks, we will be attending lectures on media and advertising at CUC, visiting advertising agencies and media companies in Beijing and Shanghai, and participating in several field trips; from the Great Wall to 798 Art Zone. Stay tuned for more daily recaps of our journey through China!