At the heart of Chung Cheng University’s 中正大學 leafy 132 hectare campus, is a large and picturesque lake. The walking path around its perimeter is really very pretty and boasts a rich variety of plants and trees. With vivid greens, coppery reds and oranges, pinks, and yellows, the leaves and flowers around the lake fill the route with life and color. A rare species of black swan grace the lake’s surface. They glide elegantly across the water while the more rowdy ducks noisily squabble with each other.
The university campus is very easy to get around, well signposted in both English and Chinese, you’d have a hard job getting lost; the sidewalks are broad and plentiful, and the roads are quiet, as motorbikes and scooters are not allowed on campus.
As you make your way around, a few things will quickly become obvious, firstly that this is a friendly and inviting place. There are large courtyards and open spaces where groups of students meet to play games or practice their dance moves, activities that stand in stark and favorable contrast to the main pastime of heavy drinking that English students engage in. For something a little quieter, many of roads are lined with benches where you can sit and talk with a friend, or just watch the world go by.
Then there are the trees, they’re everywhere. Chung Cheng has an around 200000 of them in a huge number of different species. To add to the “green” feeling of the site there are also some large grassy fields, and well maintained gardens.
Finally, there are the buildings. While not beautiful, not by any conventional sense of the word anyway, they are most certainly imposing. Rising out of the ground in various shades of orange and gray, they dominate the skyline and command your attention, none more so than the centrally located administration building. With its gothic looking twin bell towers and unusual pyramidal shape, the building’s original design makes it a real focal point for the University.
If you live in the Chiayi 嘉義 area you may want to take advantage of Chung Cheng’s excellent sports facilities. With an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool and extra outdoor pool, a golf driving range, bowling alleys, rooms for weight lifting and judo, and badminton, tennis, and volleyball courts, there should be something to satisfy anyone. You should check with the University before you go however, as students’ classes take priority over activities involving outside visitors.
There are some big changes taking place outside the campus as well. When I moved to the nearby town of Minshiong 民雄 about 3 years ago, the area next to the University had a few dirty looking shops and fried rice stores, and not much else. You could hardly say that now though. The area is going through a huge period of development. Thousands of new apartments have been built, and with that has come business. New convenience stores, hair salons, restaurants and cafes have all been opened. Add in the landscaping work and you have the beginnings of a pleasant and attractive new town, one that should prove worthy of sitting alongside Chung Cheng University.