Would you believe it if I told you that there are places on our world where parents sending their children off to college or university are so concerned about how the new freshmen would adjust to their new environment that they would prefer to stay for a day or two to see how their kids are doing? Even better, would you believe that the colleges and universities actually provide these anxious parents with temporary accommodations on campus? Here’s one for Ripley: it’s happening in major tertiary institutions in China, and it’s getting more and more common with each passing year.
The Daily Mail reports that Tianjin University in northeastern China has become one of the country’s pioneering schools to provide a means for parents and children trying to cope with having to be apart while attending college. For four years now, they have been providing tents for parents of incoming first year students, set up inside the university’s sports venues and facilities, where mom and dad can bunk in for the first three days of the academic year so they can see and if necessary help their kids adjust and settle into their new routine. Pictures of these tent communities have been popping up on Chinese social media since August, with the online denizens nicknaming them “tents of love”, and not in the usual sense.
According to a Tianjin University spokesman, the school understands the need of parents with college entrants to keep an eye on them for the first few days of class. With the increasing difficulty of getting affordable accommodation outside campus, Tianjin has decided to take the first step by providing free tent dwelling for parents to stay in. By sending advance notice to the school that they intend to stay awhile, parents can be provided with tents and space as available on campus, with access to gymnasium showers and toilets as well as amenities like mats, towels and drinking water.
Reactions to these unofficial measures has been mixed, with some commenters understanding the sort of separation anxiety felt by One-Child policy parents in sending their only kid off to college. Others feel bad for the parents having to make do with tents (and in the case of the Northwestern Polytechnic Institute in Xian, just sleeping mats in the gym) while settling their children in, while critical views see the moms and dads as unnecessarily coddling their teenage kids.
The parents themselves and their freshmen tend to see the arrangement as beneficial, with the students grateful for having their parents help with their luggage and fixing up their dorm rooms. It’s also seen by some families as a celebration of sorts, especially if their child is the first in their family to actually enter college.
Photo Credit to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/