I had a nice chat with a stranger the other day.
On my work break, a lady asked me for directions to the university hospital. I started to tell her how to get there, but I realized she probably didn’t know the town at all and I hate trying to give directions. So I decided to walk her there, since I had the time.
On the way, we had opportunity to talk. She said she is from China and came here as a cancer researcher. She was meeting a friend at the hospital.
She explained to me that universities in China are enclosed by a wall. I guess they are entirely separate from everything else. this town must seem chaotic and confusing to her, as there is no way to figure out where the city ends and the university begins. This is literally a college town where the university dominates.
It got me thinking about how different societies can be.
The US can be a rather disorderly place in many ways, even in a smaller town like this. We Americans aren’t the most talented when it comes to building a planned society. This country is a mess of competing interests and jurisdictions. And this can be seen here in the overlapping of city and university with the haphazard location of buildings that don’t share common architectural style.
Even the naming of streets in this town is mostly random. And how some streets connect can be hard to explain. All reasons I try to avoid having to give anyone directions.
All of that despite Iowa being the most orderly planned out state in the entire country.
I suspect China would be quite different in many ways. But I couldn’t begin to guess what a Chinese city or university is like.