It is finally time again for another episode of our colleague Buke’s Hiker Diary. That is where he – a born and raised Shenyanger – introduces his city to us who are more recent additions to this town. In this episode, he talks about Northeastern University, Shenyang’s biggest institution of higher learning. But read for yourselves…
Haven’t we made the deal not to talk about landmarks in the column? Yes we have, but can we say that Northeastern University (NEU) is really a landmark? In today’s Shenyang, even those newly built gorgeous but empty shopping malls are more of a landmark than NEU. We might even do a survey among 100 Shenyang locals on how many have ever been to NEU, and among those who answer that they have been, we could check how many just stopped to deal with something and left immediately and how many actually went there for seeing its old buildings and learning about its history. I am pretty sure the answers to our research would prove that NEU is just like an old and noble relative who used to be rich and splendid before but only has its name and prestige left. We all know it, but we never saw it or never planned on visiting it.
When I was in primary school, my family moved to a place close to the NEU faculty community, and I lived there until I went to university. I am sure those years shaped me somehow in a good way. I had the privilege of living close to the faculty families with their higher education, and they behaved in a more polite and civilized way than those in the more common neighborhoods. Meanwhile, all those young students coming in and out of campus, with their indescribabley sunny and impassioned air about them, made me believe that life should be positive and full of passion. I have always possessed a very deep affection for NEU.
There is no doubt that NEU is the best university in Shenyang. It was founded in 1923 and intimately involved in that storming period of China’s history. It was tightly related to numerous prestigious people through its history, such as the military warlord Zhang Xueliang, who is usually called the Yong Marshal Zhang by locals and whose residence is a big cultural landmark building of Shenyang, the athlete Liu Changchun, China’s first man to compete in the Olympics (in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics), and many famous scientists and scholars. NEU was very strong in scientific and engineering subjects, in history, and now it is a comprehensive university also holding a position in those arising fields such as Internet Science and IT. Born from and developed in NEU, the NEUSOFT Group is one of China’s most successful HiTech companies today.
NEU is such a wonderful subject to tell stories, but not on WeChat. I hope this small article can arouse your interest to visit NEU, and I am sure its elegant buildings, green lanes, and young faces will not disappoint you.
- http://www.neu.edu.cn/, official website of NEU. English version available. Plenty of introductions on the university’s history.
- http://126.96.36.199/, an official online navigation page with panoramic photos and maps. A good window to know everything about NEU.
How to find NEU?
- In Heping District. Neighboring Nanhu Park (West Lake Park) on its west and Sanhao Street on its east; Chinese address: 辽宁省沈阳市和平区文化路三巷11号
- Driving will be the worst way to visit NEU. Unless you park the car outside the campus, you need to register at the gate and leave your driving license at the guard house, and take it back when you leave the campus at the same gate. Therefore, just walk or bike there. For full access to the campus, simply dress like a student.
- NEU has two main gates at the north and south, but also many small side gates along Sanhao Street and in the faculty community areas on the west and south. Particularly, the side gate at Sanhao Street is worth some more words. It is very hard to locate, since it is hidden in a yard messily filled by many old buildings serving as a second-hand computer hardware market. It is also hard to enter, because it is a steel fence merely opened by a narrow and zigzagging lane. It is for walking only. If you ride your bike, then you have to lift it up as high as your arms can reach and walk through it. Moreover, if you are below 185cm, you have to walk on tiptoe.
- However, for those who fancy adventures and conquering, I strongly recommend you find this side gate by riding your bike.
- You may try your luck and go into those historical buildings, which usually serve as various faculty buildings today. The old man at the gate may just ignore you. It all depends on whether you look like a student.
- If you think a tour to NEU is not enough, then just go to West Lake Park afterwards.
If you missed any of the previous episodes – read all about what the Hiker Diary is, about the Mukden POW Camp, about Shenyang’s Worker’s Village, and about some almost forgotten temples in the city’s busiest shopping districts in the other Hiker Diary articles. If you liked this installment, please share it with those you hold dear. For new inspiration for any of our writers, let us know what you would like to read about in the comments below! And of course, do not forget to follow us – on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and on our blog.
Written by Buke Wang