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Classes starting, and what’s wrong with Lingnan?

The past week has been fairly uneventful. I’ve met some of the new exchangers, who seem nice enough but also seem a few collective decades younger than last semester’s. Most of this term break’s exchange travelers are back and in one piece.

After much schedule-juggling, I’ll be going in to this week with the following classes. I won’t try to reproduce my schedule as Lingnan’s timetables don’t make the slightest bit of sense.

HST 193 China Through Eyes of the West [what do I think? this class should tell me!]
HST 399A History of Contemporary China
HST 399E The World Turned Upside Down [the American Revolution? History of British colonial defeats? Who knows.]
POL 319 International Politics of Northeast Asia

I’d like to go in with five or six classes, but the schedule isn’t cooperating. I hope I’ll be able to stay in all four of those and avoid needing to scramble for an add/drop during this upcoming week.

I’ve been telling people—and I guess I should put it out on this blog for any googlers to see—that I cannot recommend Lingnan as a study abroad experience. To qualify that: being in Hong Kong is great, even if I’m a solid hour by train from the city center. The Office of International Programs here is great.

The “study” is… unimpressive. The administration and its policies are obtuse. There will be a “What’s Wrong with Lingnan” series coming up to elaborate and suggest changes, but since I’m not at the appropriate hierarchical level my complaints won’t do any good here. The hostel atmosphere is stifling: the university treats its students as 15-year-olds and gets the appropriate behavior in response.

The only real positive about Lingnan is that its small size may be easier to handle as an exchange student. Otherwise, you can have a good exchange experience—on balance, I think my experience has been good so far—at Lingnan, but it’ll be in spite of rather than because of Lingnan.

Harsh words, perhaps. I know that the legitimate criticisms of WVU by international students in basic areas such as “getting students from airport to dorm room without major adventures” might be worse than any difficulties Lingnan’s thrown at me, but I think someone considering exchanging at Lingnan would be well-served by knowing about these problems before arriving. I also think Lingnan would be well-served by listening to some of the exchange students’ criticisms instead of summarily dismissing them. We aren’t right about everything, but we can’t be wrong about everything either.

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