In 2001, the Institute of Computer Science of FU Berlin signed a cooperation agreement with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China, that also included the exchange of students. The first of hopefully many exchanges took place in August / September 2002 when Evelyn Dittmer, Andreas Gramm, Wolf Lindstrot, Philipp Ottlinger, Georg Wittenburg, and Till Zoppke traveled to Wuhan.
China is a marvelous country and the exchange program left enough time to visit some of the world-famous landmarks. Our group arrived in Beijing and couldn't wait for our first real contact with the Chinese culture. We visited the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Ming Tombs, but also spent some time at parks and local supermarkets. We then continued to Wuhan, where our Chinese hosts prepared a warm welcome for us (right at the local KFC, just in case we are not used to local cuisine). During our five week stay at HUST we had the opportunity to make a weekend trip to Shanghai and to travel by boat on River Yangtze and see the Three Gorges to which HUST kindly invited us. After our visit in Wuhan was over, on our way back home to Germany we visited the city of Hong Kong and slowly got used to the western kind of civilization again.
At HUST each of us was assigned to a laboratory to work on a research project that fits to the interests we mentioned in our application. The projects covered a wide range of expertise and included topics such as mobile communication, educational software, databases, and security systems. Integration at the labs was splendid and we quickly got know many of our Chinese co-workers and ended up usually having lunch and dinner together. Some of us also had the opportunity to share some of our own expertise in small lectures. On campus, we also took or time to do some exercise, visit the high-school of the university, or practice English with the Chinese at the weekly English Corner meetings.
Upon arrival in Wuhan each of us was assigned a "link man" - a Chinese student who was to help us find our way around every day life in China. The contact was warm and hearty and we spent a lot of our free time together, either going out in the city of Wuhan or just talking in our dormitories. At our dormitory we also got to know many people from all over the world that were a lot of fun to hang out with. Our social life culminated in our big good-bye party to which we invited well over 100 people. We gladly remember that time, knowing that we have a good bunch of friends right on the other side of the world.
It is hard if not impossible to capture all those magic moments we experienced during our exchange to Wuhan. Yet we would like to share the following photos with everyone:
And for those who still want to see more, please enter the code of your Golden Dragon Card below:
Our exchange to Wuhan was great in every possible respect. It had everything one could hope for in a journey to China: We had time to see parts the marvelous country, we had the chance to work together on research projects and most importantly we made a lot of friends. China doesn't seem to be that far away anymore. Thanks a lot to our hosts in China for making this possible. We are looking forward to seeing you again.
Update: In 2004, there was a follow-up exchange with students from HUST visiting us in Berlin. Details of this trip can be found at the Berlin 2005 diary.