Written by Minnie Norgaisse, (Brandeis University) Student Correspondent CET Beijing: Intensive Language, Spring 2018
Dear prospective student who’s still deciding where to go:
Let me just start off by saying, I’ve been there, and I know it’s hard. Deciding where to study abroad is no easy task – it takes a lot of time, research, and energy to find the place that’s best for you. There are tons of factors to consider – from weather to culture to language to food, and then even more pros and cons to weigh.
If you’re reading this blog though, that must mean that you’re considering studying in Asia, or maybe even specifically Beijing. If you are (and I hope you are!), that’s great! But if you’re still on the fence, I understand that too. You might be wondering, what can I do there? Where should I explore?
The good news is that Beijing is full of its own charms and interesting spots to be explored. And the list only gets longer as the weather warms up. So, to the prospective student who may or may not come to Beijing, here are some things to do when 春天来了 (spring comes)!
1) First things first – OFO!
Ofo is an app that gives its users access to bikes that are located all around Beijing. All you need to do to get a ride is scan the bike’s QR code and hop on! Besides being a good way to get some exercise in, it also makes it easier to get to other places (such as the ones listed below) and is a refreshing way to relax when the weather’s warm!
2 – Visit Yuyuantan Park in the spring for the cherry blossom festival (or to ride on duck paddle boats – the decision is yours)
CET Beijing’s Intensive Language program is located at Capital Normal University. While the campus isn’t in the center of the hustle and bustle that surrounds the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, it is just a stone’s throw away from many other historical places and hidden gems. One of these gems is Yuyuantan Park, which is a 10-minute bike ride away from campus. The park has beautiful cherry blossoms that attract crowds for miles and a giant lake where you can go paddle boating!
When the flowers start to bloom, so do the crowds, so make sure to keep that in mind!
3- Go to the 798 Art District (pictured at the top)
The 798 Art District is an area in Beijing that hosts a plethora of art museums, eye-catching sculptures, as well as an ever-increasing number of small shops and cafes. This is a great place for the artistically-inclined and the museum-obsessed. It’s also just a great place to take pictures with friends or to explore on your own!
4 – Eat Peking Roast Duck in Qianmen
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Tiananmen Square, Qianmen is a perfect place to stroll outside and take in Beijing. The area features a variety of restaurants, many of which serve Peking Duck. But there are also a number of small bakeries and candy shops that sell specialty old-time sweets. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Qianmen will not leave you disappointed.