The students enrolled in the Advanced Computing Program (ACP) organized a meet-up in Paris on September 18th and 19th! Three cohorts and three countries were represented: 2019, 2020 and 2021 students from Italy, Portugal and France got together to meet face to face for the first time.
How did the event come into being, and why gathering in Paris, you may ask? The orientation week enabled the first year students to introduce themselves to the others and we realized that many of us lived near each other. We would all have liked best to meet in Beijing but as it is still not possible to reach China, we selected the most central location for all of us: Paris.
Some of us arrived on Saturday and were hosted by their French classmates, and we all met on Sunday morning in the city center (Châtelet - Les Halles). We then had lunch together in a Chinese restaurant called “Le petit Bao” (小包子, https://www.baofamily.co/) and shared typical Chinese dishes, including 蔬菜炒面, 五香汁虾仁云吞, 红烧茄子, 炒油菜花, 干炒牛河 and 糖醋彩椒鸡肉. We all fell in love with Chinese food and can’t wait to go to China and try the many other culinary specialities it has to offer!
Enjoying the Chinese cuisine at “Le petit bao”
We then went for a walk around the city and enjoyed the French Heritage Weekend, a special day in France when national monuments are all open and free to visit, and cars are not allowed within the city! We went past the Pantheon, the Luxembourg Gardens, les Invalides (House of the disabled) and many other well-known French buildings and places.
ACP students in front of the Pantheon
While walking the discussions were in full swing: the second year students and those who had recently graduated shared their experience with the first year students, about life on campus and in China in general, about the places they had travelled to, about the master itself… We all learnt a lot from each other!
We then went to the Eiffel tower to meet with other students and take a picture in front of France’s iconic masterpiece.
More students are joining! In front of the Eiffel tower
Selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower, not that easy for us all to fit in!
Sunday was a special day for another reason: the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (Triumphal Arch of the star) was wrapped in recyclable fabric in silvery blue, as a temporary posthumous work from Christo and Jeanne-Claude. We didn’t hesitate for long before deciding to take a last picture in front of it!
Final picture in front of the Arc de Triomphe, wrapped
After walking 25 kilometers in the city, it was time for most of us to get back home, on foot, by bus or subway, by train, or even by plane! We had a whale of a time together and cannot wait until next time, hopefully at Tsinghua in China! In the meantime, we are planning to hold future meetings from the three 19-20-21 cohorts so that more students can join!