I’ve been in Beijing for about three/four weeks – so it’s about time to write a short recap on what I’ve been doing so far. Sorry, should be blogging more on here to update friends and family… but as you may know, many websites are blocked in China, and I was having a bit of trouble connecting to my VPN to update the blog.
So far, the Associated Colleges in China program has been incredible. In total, there are about 22 students in my program from more than 10 different colleges and universities around the United States. Somehow I was able to place into the highest level Chinese class offered in our program (5th year Chinese). We have 2 fifth-year teachers, and only 3 students in our class. Everyday is pretty straightforward – we learn a new lesson (we’ve been learning about all kinds of subjects such as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the reformation of the Chinese economy under Chairman Deng Xiaoping). With each lesson, comes about 150 new words to learn (daily), which definitely keeps the level of homework up… but can definitely say that I’m learning more than I could have ever anticipated.
After our main daily lecture, we have a conversation class where we debate on the topics that we’ve learned and a 1-hour private lesson with our instructor. Each student by the end of the program is expected to write an independent project essay… and ours is 5,000 characters long. While that’s a pretty daunting task the program has been pretty supportive of us so far.
As for the program, we have a pretty rigorous academic line-up Monday through Friday (with classes from 8am to 1pm) and then about 3-4 hours of homework per night. The weekends, however, are completely free. We sometimes go out clubbing to the local bars/clubs, travel around the city, and are planning a few excursions outside the city (stay tuned for the Shanghai Disneyland update).
Some upcoming updates: traveling to Inner Mongolia, Xian program trip (including seeing the Terracota Warriors and climbing Mount Hua), and of course… Shanghai Disneyland later this year. Promise I’ll be better at keeping everyone updated now that my VPN is finally sorted out here! Until next time… 再见，我好想美国，可是我应该把这件机会学好中文！