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Top universities swamped by tourists

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-03 07:16
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Student tourists leave the campus of Tsinghua University through its west gate after a tour organized by a local agency. Campuses of elite universities have been picked by ambitious Chinese parents as a popular tourism destination for their children in summer.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Every summer, crowds throng campuses to get a closer look

As the students at China's top universities go home for the summer, many tourists head in the opposite direction to get a glimpse of the hallowed halls of education.

Tsinghua and Peking universities are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Beijing during the summer holidays, not only because they were established on the sites of former royal gardens of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) but also because they are leading institutions of higher education.

Su Chanyi, a mother from Hunan province, tries to let her 14-year-old son get a feel for the everyday life of elite schools by walking him around the campuses of the two universities.

"I bring him here to see what top universities look like and let him compare them with those of our hometown. I hope he can learn something and be inspired to come here to study in the future."

Study tour companies around the country offer campus tour packages every summer. However, campuses are generally not well equipped to receive hundreds of thousands of tourists.

"We accept a limited number of tourists between 7:30 am and 11:30 am, and again between 2 pm and 5 pm. Group visitors need to make advance reservations," said a guard at the east gate of Peking University.

Just 900 meters away, the school's counterpart, Tsinghua University, uses more manpower, including campus security and auxiliary police officers, because its campus is much bigger and has more scenic spots than its neighbor.

"During summer vacation, tourists can begin lining up at the west gate, the only passage for them to get in, as early as 2 am. The campus starts receiving tourists at 8:30 am and 1:30 pm," according to guard at Tsinghua's west gate.

Xiamen University, which claims on its website to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, is located on the southern tip of Xiamen Island and commands a beautiful view of green hills and blue sea, with buildings of unique architectural style. According to the security office, only 1,000 tourists a day are permitted entry during the summer.

"We have carried out a series of security measures, but there are still many tourists trying to enter the campus for a tour by climbing over the walls and trees, and even through hidden tunnels," Xiamen Daily quoted the head of the security office as saying.

Chu Zhaohui, a researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences, said a study tour doesn't mean walking around, but visiting such places as historical sites.

"Just walking around campus does not guarantee admission. Instead of chasing after top universities, it is important to choose an appropriate one," Chu said.

Li Hongyang contributed to this story.


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