After a twelve straight hours of flying, we're all ecstatic to be finally be here in Beijing! On our first day Yilong, one of our host students, was nice enough to be our guide as we explored the enormous campus and acted as a much needed translator for as we registered for our dorms and meal cards. Now officially Tsinghua students, we all went to have lunch together at one of the school's many canteens and were not only overwhelmed by the number of options available to us, but delighted by how delicious everything turned out to be!
Satisfied, we returned to the dorms for a few hours to settle in to our new rooms before meeting with the rest of our host students, who were welcomed with a traditional feast featuring the city's famous peking roast duck.
After a full night of rest, the team spent the day finishing up the chores of the day before: registering their Chinese SIM cards and signing up for debit cards so that we could use common applications (such as WeChat Pay and Ofo Bike Sharing) in China just like every other student. Once the team settled in, we were led by our host students Liya Dong and Li Ye on a tour around the Tsinghua campus.
As it was a Sunday, the team was free to want we wanted and explore the campus freely. We all met up in the morning for breakfast and used the city's bike-sharing system to cycle around, stopping to admire the beautiful gardens and take photos at Tsinghua's famous Old Gate. Here, we ourselves became tourists attractions, with many excited Tsinghua visitors asking to take photos with us! All in all, we had a fun time discovering the school's various canteens, libraries, and recreational areas.
Though the original agenda detailed the beginning of lab work, the team was informed we needed a new type of visa so we spent the morning trying to resolve the issue. After lunch and our post-lunch siesta, we went to tour the neighboring Peking University via Ofo shared bikes and had dinner there with Liya.
Today began with a brief overview of our upcoming research topic. We met with our host student, Yilong, who showed us around Tsinghua's Department of Microelectronics and delivered a presentation on the purpose of memristors, the benefits of ReRAM, switching medium migration methods, and neuromorphology comparisions. For dinner, we met up with Liya and Li Ye at a bright and busy Cantonese restaurant and shared many tasty dishes, including traditional wonton soup, a chicken foot soup, raddish cakes, and much more. Then we rounded off the night with a walk through the neon-lit streets and a quick stop at a local tea shop for milk tea before biking back to the dorms.
Today was an adventurous one. We took the subway for the first time to Nanluoguxiang where we tried green tea ice cream - at Li's suggestion - and shopped for souvenirs. We then walked to Yandaixiejie for lunch and sat down with Li and Yilong for a shared hot pot meal. After lunch, we trekked to Shichahai Park and finally Beihai Park, where we were able to get a bird's view of the Forbidden City. Afterwards, we took the Beijing bus to the nearby shopping malls and explored the six-story high bookstore. Our adventure concluded with a crowded subway trip back to Tsinghua.
Today we had a laboratory safety orientation where Yilong explained the various protocol for entering the cleanroom such as required labwear, specific entrance, cleaning procedures and prohibited items. All this is to minimize contamination, as something as simple as the oils secreted from the skin or physical contact with a trace amount of conductive metal is enough to damage the lab's sensitive microelectrical components. Later on, we will be tested on this safety material and upon passing, be allowed clearance into the cleanroom.
We woke up bright an early to head to the Chinese Exit and Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau for our new visas. Finishing sooner than expected, the team decided to go shopping at the Chaoyang Joy City District with Li and Liya. Li suggested a popular ramen shop amongst local students for lunch, and Liya recommended a restaurant nearby for dinner. With our stomachs satisfied and our shopping urges quenched, we headed back to the Tsinghua apartments to meet with Albert.
We woke up early to bike to our 8am meeting with head of the Department of Microelectronics, Professor Wu, who gave us a warm welcome and further explanation of our laboratory schedule. After that, we headed to a little library cafe for some morning coffee and stopped to buy Tsinghua stationery and tea leaves from the underground gift shop. In the afternoon, Liya accompanied us to Yuanmingyuan Park- a maze of trails buzzing with dragonflies and taken with lakes and streams all veiled in a lovely blanket of blossoming pink water lilies! However, halfway through our visit we got caught in a sudden thunderstorm and huddled under a pagoda for shelter, waiting for it to pass. But realizing it wasn't going to let up anytime soon, we biked back through the summer downpour and ate dinner together at a campus canteen, happy to be out of the rain.
It was Sunday... hence, a FUN day. We rode the subway to the Olympic Park, where we were able to not only tour the Birds Nest but also explore the Water Cube. The Birds Nest was breathtaking, with goosebumps on our arms as we wandered through the halls that the Olympians we had once watched on TV walked. Similar could be said of the Water Cube as we looked over the Olympic diving pools. As a side adventure, Jacob and Yilong learned how to "curl" and played a match on the marble court, which was open as a reference to the future Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. As our day concluded, the team spent the night watching the World Cup.