Spend an Afternoon on the Campus of an Elite Chinese University
Sun Yat-sen University—also known as Zhongshan University—is one of the Top 10 universities in China, and the very best in Guangdong. It's also one of the most beautiful, I think!
The university was founded in 1924 by Sun Yat-Sen, an important figure in Chinese history and a hometown hero in Guangzhou. Like historic universities around the world, the campus has a peaceful, reflective atmosphere—beautiful old brick buildings, 100-year-old trees, expansive green quads, and wide pedestrian boulevards populated by friendly students and bicyclists. Every time I've visited the campus, I've been approached by friendly students looking to chat about their experience, practice their English, and learn about other places in the world.
The famous “Small Hall” here was built in 1915, donated by an American, originally as a Christian youth center. It is one of the early examples of Cantonese architecture which combined both the influences of the East and West. Other famous old buildings include the “Black Stone House,” built in 1914; the “Xing Pavilion,” built in 1928 and now used as the “English corner” for students on every Wednesday; a memorial arch dated back to 1635; and more.
Wander, snap photos, and stop to grab student-budget food at any of the restaurants or cafes. (One caveat: Many feature "Western" menus that cater not to foreigners but to students looking for taste of Western food. The menu items may be familiar, but the flavors aren't!)