Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting my act together!

Ugh, okay, I really have no excuse this time. Once we got back from our social study project (which I will post about very soon, I promise!), I had a lot of – wait for it – goals in mind (yes finally!) to get the most out of the second half of HBA. Sadly, I’m only just posting them now, but hey, better late then never (?). I thought I learned a lot from doing a language program in Japan last year, and while I did learn cramming characters in a room all day was not the way to go, I feel like I still missed a lot of opportunities up to this point. Here goes:

1. Keep getting to know local Chinese people!
I think I’ve made the most progress on this one. It doesn’t have to be all awkward either - meeting people through mutual friends, Yale’s newly launched buddy program with PKU students this year, talking to HBA’s Chinese helpers in the afternoons (well, now, we’re kind of forced to because we have small “tasks” we have to do everyday to interact with locals – 太麻烦了!) Although I do find that it’s possible to walk up to random tables in Beiyu’s 餐厅 and ask to eat lunch together. I also met another college student just by way of asking directions and regularly working out at the gym (ha, so going through the dreadful treadmill run has benefits after all). While I realize that a summer is all too short to meet up more than a few times, I’ll hopefully spend my last two weeks getting to know the people whom I've just started getting to know.

2. Get my act in class together.
While I definitely prioritize exploring Beijing and meeting the people here, I still underprioritize one very important aspect of my life – SLEEP. You just can’t concentrate as well in a class if you’ve only had four or five hours of sleep. (You’d think I would’ve learned this from Yale already). As such, it’s taken a huge toll on my level in class – I feel like I’m just not digesting the grammar and vocabulary as well as I used to. And while I constantly stress that study, study, study isn’t why I came to Beijing, I also feel like crap when I go to class and give my 老师 the homework I’ve managed to scribble down a little more than an hour ago – also, my handwriting’s also already gained its infamous “chicken scratch” status, and I keep getting points off for illegibility (some things never change).

3. Places still to visit in Beijing!! (this list is more for myself as a reminder)
- Xiangshan Park (and Wofosi and Biyunsi – photos of these two temples look amazing!)
- Drum/Bell Towers nearby hutongs)
- Jingshan Park (supposedly there’s an awesome view of the Forbidden City from the top!)
- Yuanmingyuan
- Tiananmen Square – I didn’t end up going when I went to the Forbidden City for some reason. Even if it’s just a stroll, definitely need to go here before I leave Beijing!

- There are plenty others, but those are the must-see for now!

4. Start studying for my Japanese placement test.
Oh dear joy. I feel like I lost a year’s worth of Japanese through just two months of Chinese immersion.

5. Last, but not least, catch up on blog posts.
It feels like I’m cheating the system by blogging about stuff three weeks after they’ve happened, but as I’ve already said, better late than never.

As a sign that things can always get better, a pic of the clearest sky of Beijing I've ever seen - I almost thought I was dreaming when I looked out my window

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Alan B said...

These goals are great for everyone; connect with locals, see the city, plan your study/sleep time.

As the weeks wind down, have you begun thinking about how you will maintain your Chinese after the summer? Any particular websites, books, or other media that will help you keep your Chinese up to snuff?

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