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Work, work, work

Friday 18th September 2015, 12:10pm

How has this week flown by so quickly?
It’s given me an idea of just how fast this whole year is going to go, and in all honesty, that in itself is making me antsy already, because I have so many plans!
There is way more homework than I expected, and classes are tough and demanding. I have four core courses; intensive reading (精读), speaking (口语), newspaper reading (报刊), and ‘listening to news’ (新闻听力).
(Translating Chinese class names into English makes them sound so weird…)
I love the speaking teacher and his relatively more interactive teaching style; I like the way the intensive reading teacher breaks down characters, but extremely dislike his public shaming method of teaching. He’s constantly putting us down for not knowing a new word, or reading a character incorrectly; we are a disgrace to Fudan University, falling below his expectations for the language school’s highest level class (Level I, ranked alphabetically).
As students in the highest level, we are also required to choose two extra elective courses, out of a choice of three: Chinese idioms and culture (成语), Chinese grammar (语法词), and Shanghainese (上海话).
To me, the choice seemed obvious: idioms and Shanghainese (a new language, yay!), but I thought I should attend each before making a decision. Man, did that just confuse me a whole lot more…. The idioms class was not even close to what I’d hoped; idioms in Chinese have rich, interesting stories behind them, but this class explained none of that. Instead, the teacher essentially gave/told us a list of about 20 new idioms and briefly explained what they meant. The grammar class was unfortunately taught by my intensive reading teacher, but, to his credit, at least relatively useful. The Shanghainese class however, much to my disappointment, fell short by the largest margin. The first hour or more was spent explaining the geography and development of Shanghai, and the first words of Shanghainese were ‘taught’ minutes before the end of the lesson. But no introduction was really given to the language as such, before we were supposed to repeat words after the teacher said them once, and that was it. If it’s any indication as to how the rest of the year will go, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stand it. The textbook we are required to purchase also looks terrible, and is also kinda expensive, by Chinese textbook standards.
I’m leaning towards idioms and grammar, but then remind myself that I’ll never get a better opportunity to study Shanghainese than now. Gaaaah, decisions decisions.

On another, more exciting note, tomorrow there is a publicly funded (i.e. free at point of consumption (well hello, economics degree)) trip for students of various scholarships, including mine. The confirmation slip of paper we were given when we signed up doesn’t give much information:
“One-day tour to Science and Technology Museum, Global Financial Center”

Given the above, I’m not sure I should have any high hopes for what precisely that entails.

To end, here’s another picture of a cat that is definitely fast becoming my favourite. He (she?) has the best poses, and is often seen lying around as if he owns the place.



About Ibtehaal

I graduated with a degree in Chinese and Economics, which involved spending a year studying Chinese in Beijing. This turned out to be the hardest but most rewarding thing I think I have ever done. I've now returned to China for another year, to study in Shanghai and figure out my next steps.

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