Sophia Jin '15

It’s been a few weeks since I have returned from Beijing, China. It’s still hard to believe that I spent the past 5 months abroad in a completely culturally different country. I’ve fallen in love with the city, the language, learning the history, and with the tight-knit group of friends that I’m glad to call my “China Family.” The thing is, I can’t even begin to describe my experience or put it all into words.

My Spring Semester China Family

My Spring Semester China Family

My Janterm Semester China Family

My Janterm Semester China Family

Flash backwards to fall semester, when my family and friends were asking:

“Where are you going?”
“China!”
“…Oh. Why are you going there?”
“I want to improve my Chinese.”
“Why don’t you just talk to your parents in Chinese? Can’t you learn from them?”

All the responses were similar. There may have been only been a handful of people who really seemed excited at the idea of studying abroad in China. A lot of people believe that China is really dirty, or the people are rude, they are concerned with what’s in the food, or they think it’s weird that there are a lot of fake designer things there. Most of all, I feel like everyone was wondering why I didn’t choose somewhere more scenic and popular – places like Paris, Italy, or Australia. Everyone was set on the question: Why on earth would I choose to go to Beijing?

My main purpose for choosing to study in Beijing, China through the CET Program, was because I wanted to improve my understanding of the Chinese language – speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The unique thing that attracted me to the program was that I would be 100% committed to the language pledge, a contract I signed saying that I would speak using only Chinese, 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week. Sure, I could speak to my own parents at home. But a 20-year-old habit of speaking to my parents in English was not very easy to break. I needed a stable environment that I could practice my Chinese in. If everyone around me was required to speak Chinese as well, and if everything around me was written in Chinese, I would be forced to practice Chinese. And that was one of the program’s many perks that I saw to my advantage. And I can proudly say that I kept to that pledge, and saw my Chinese improve tremendously. My parents had always tried to get me to speak Chinese when I was younger, but as soon as I learned English in kindergarten, I had refused to speak Chinese. My friends only knew English, so that’s all I thought I needed. What’s the use of learning Chinese when my friends didn’t know it? It’s hard because i’m expected to speak in perfect Chinese because of my physical appearance, so I’ve always felt extra pressure to speak Chinese well. That pressure paired with my insecurity in speaking the language made me more and more afraid to speak it. So I didn’t. After returning to the US, i’m glad to say that I now speak to my parents in Chinese, and I know that they’re touched that i’ve changed my habit. One of my parent’s friends had recently told me how my mom gushed to her that I was finally speaking to her in Chinese, and that made me really happy.

Beijing has an intense air pollution problem –there’s no doubt. Also, the old streets and alleyways may not be as glamorous as NYC. But the thing is, there is so much culture and history in this city. And I got to experience it all firsthand. In Beijing, there’s so many historical sites: the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the National Museum, just to name a few – there wasn’t enough time to visit them all! Another reason why I chose China was because Chinese culture is so incredibly different from American culture, and there was so much for me to learn. For example, in China, when a person says “You’ve gained weight,” it is not an insult. It is simply an observation, and the Chinese people won’t take it to heart. However, in America, when someone comments “You’ve gained weight,” then that person may feel incredibly self-conscious and may even be upset at the person who commented. Chinese people also are more conservative when it comes to clothing – so many girls wore stockings under shorts and skirts… even when it was 100 degrees outside! Also, just like how American girls are obsessed with tanning and being “bronze,” Chinese girls are obsessed with being pale and lighter-skinned. During the summertime, you can’t be surprised if you see a bunch of umbrellas open in broad sunlight.

Another thing that goes on my list of my top 5 favorite things about China was the food – how delicious and how relatively inexpensive it was compared to American food! I got to try so many new foods in China – authentic Kung Pao Chicken, Tomato & Eggs (a personal fav), Egg Pancakes, Pork Buns, Peking Duck, Fried Scorpion (a must for the full tourist experience), Eggplant (which I had refused to eat in America, but ended loving in China), etc. The average cost of my breakfast was $0.50-$1.00 USD, and the average cost of my dinner was anywhere from $2-8 USD. The best part was tax and tip were all automatically included into these prices. The food was so good and so cheap, so naturally, I ate so much of it. I’m quite the eater. You can understand my pain, coming back to NYC where you’d be happy to get away with a $15 meal. I’m going to miss the delicious, authentic Chinese food!

I could write a whole book about my China experience. There’s just so much to say about it! However, I know no one wants to sit there reading a super long blog, so instead, please enjoy this video with clips that I pieced together to illustrate my experience. Luckily, my camera had this neat little function where it could record videos and take photos simultaneously. Sometimes, photos can’t always tell the full story. Granted, nothing can really take the place of the actual experience. However, with these little snapshots, I was able to capture the little moments right before the click of the shutter – sometimes I got a video of somebody dancing, or a face popping in and disappearing right before a click, or a switch of a facial expression. I hope that everyone can get a little taste of my semester abroad!

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Zai jian zhong guo! (Goodbye China)

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

 

A picture is worth a thousand words, and i’d like to share some worthwhile Instagram photos of my semester abroad!

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Last glimpse of the US

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Welcoming in the Year of the Horse

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Connecting with Chinese middle school students

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Won my first game of Mahjong

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But of course, a panda sighting!

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Animal onesies? Check.

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The Forbidden City

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Chinese New Year – Temple Festival

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TRUE LIFE: I ate a scorpion (the tiny ones, bottom right)

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Yunnan Province!

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The view from my hostel in the Tiger Leaping Gorge

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My two favorite Chinese roommates

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Ice castle in Harbin

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The Terra-cotta Army!

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Shoutout to HC’s Ballroom team: I went to a swing event!

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Living the Mission: on the Great Wall

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Serenity @the Summer Palace

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Makeshift studying: imperfect calligraphy

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We planned an American-style Prom!

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The bittersweet goodbye

Cheers,
Sophia

金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

(This is a post I wrote a while ago, but was unable to post due to our slow internet connection.)

During one of our orientation meetings a while back, we had a speaker who showed us a lot of amusing slides of interestingly worded signs that he has found around China. With any language, things don’t translate exactly when you go from one language to another… so you’ve got to be careful. I thought that this was a marvelous idea, so during my five months traveling around China, I put together a mini collection of sayings that you can check out below. Keep in mind that not all the signs in China are misspelled, but there are a few if you keep your eye out for ‘em. They were amusing.

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HmmmMmmmMmm…

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(Do you think she knows?)

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The little pocket with a hanger on it adds a nice touch

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So this one isn’t really mispelled… but I just thought this was hilarious.

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Careful, they want to Meat you

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Love elevator?

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Here’s the actual elevator.

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Pretty sure they forgot an ‘e’ there

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You should obey the stuff.

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Did I mention that you are the best?

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Hope you got some laughs or chuckles :)

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

One of the things that really look forward to doing every week is attending our Chinese Painting class. In Chinese, this is called “国画 (GuóHuà).” It uses the same techniques as Chinese calligraphy, and you use the same types of brushes, except instead of only using the traditional black ink “墨水 (MòShŭi),” you add colored ink as well. It’s very similar to watercolor painting, because the most important part of drawing GuoHua is learning how to control the amount of water you use. Most of the time, we draw landscapes or things that you see in nature. My GuoHua class is in the middle of the week, so it’s a really nice stress break, to wind down and relax my brain a little bit.

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I’ve hung up a bunch of my pieces on my wall, my roommate jokes that our room is an Art Museum because she has her work on the wall as well.

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This was one of our first paintings!

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The Great Wall! This one took over 3 hours to paint…

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Fun fact: I’m born in the year of the Rooster.

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Not the finest, but I liked painting this one the best.

Besides painting my own work, I’ve also gotten the chance to see a lot of Chinese art in Beijing. Art has played such a huge part in Chinese culture – from the clothes the Chinese wear, to the beautiful patterns involved in Chinese architecture. And because Chinese has a long history, they also have a lot of experience in the arts.

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This artist collaborated with a European artist, who created custom frames to frame the paintings.

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A famous artist had a gallery opening the day we went to the Beijing Art Museum.

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Traditional Chinese Paintings

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Abstract art in Beijing’s 798 Art District. This piece is a series of scribbles, which I thought was really cool.

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The artist painted a series of pictures like this, with metallic paints. The contrasting colors paired with the metallic paints create a really bold effect.

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Also in the 798 Art District… sculptures!

Beijing Opera

Ah, Beijing Opera. In the past, female roles were played by men. Can you guess if this character is a man or a woman?

I’d also like to take this opportunity to place a spotlight on my wonderful roommate. Not only does she take me to cool places or helps me when I have problems with my Chinese homework, but my Chinese roommate is an Art major. She also regularly draws in our room, and I love watching her paint. It’s really allowed me to get a deeper understanding of Chinese Art and culture.

My roommate working on one of her paintings

My roommate working on one of her paintings

With less than 3 weeks left in China, I had asked her to take me to buy my own set of brushes and paints to take back home to the states, so that I can continue painting GuoHua. A day later, she surprised me with brushes and a set of paints – turns out that she had already prepared this as a graduation gift for me!

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

At this point in time, we are already almost halfway into our semester, and time just flew right on by. For the CET Spring Intensive language in Beijing semester students, there’s only 1.5 months left. Although i’ve only been in China for four months, I feel like i’ve been living in China for a few years. My mind functions 100% in Mandarin Chinese now. Sometimes, Chinese words come quicker to me than English words.

It’s also at this point that I want to bring up this quote:

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

A lot of the students, myself included, have been feeling a bit homesick lately. It’s definitely a lot of pressure to be speaking in a second language 24/7, and the pollution in Beijing has been quite harrowing. We have all settled too comfortably into our daily Chinese lives that we forgot to grasp the present and explore! Even though you can learn from the past and you should most certainly plan for your future, most of your time should be spent living in the moment. I think that’s one of the biggest lessons i’ve learned being abroad. We waste so many days waiting for the weekend and so many nights wanting morning, but you get the most satisfaction from what you’re currently doing – true happiness occurs at the present moment.

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

P.S. I’ve been chosen to be a Student Correspondent for my Beijing program, so i’ll also be blogging for my program here!

Last weekend, our school took us on a weekend trip to Hangzhou, a city in China’s Zhejiang Province. All of us students and our Chinese roommates boarded a 16-hour night train to southern China. Half of the time we were sleeping, and the other half was spent chatting and playing games. Our favorite during the train ride was Mafia. The roommates taught us the Chinese way of playing it, and we taught them the American way. The real difference was that the way that we played it was with a storyteller telling a story when somebody got attacked by the mafia players. In the end, we mixed up our two different versions and created our own little twist on the game. It was really exciting to play this because you really needed to rack your brain and try to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s lying; when it was time to pinpoint the mafia, the discussions got extremely intense. It was also very funny hearing everyone argue in Chinese.

The five main places we visited in Hangzhou were 西湖 xīhú (West Lake), 灵隐寺 LíngYînSì (Ling Yin Temple), 飞来峰 Fēiláiféng (Flying Peak),  the Bamboo-lined path at Yunqi, a Tea Leaf planting area, and Qinghefang Ancient Street –where our hotel was located.

Walking around the West Lake was probably the most memorable part of our trip. The park around the lake is huge, and there are 10 different tourist spots that you can visit. There wasn’t time to visit them all, but one very important one was ‘Three Pools Mirroring the Moon,’ three stupas staked in the lake. It’s the scene pictured on the Chinese 1-dollar-bill/yuan!

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This is the back of a 1 yuan dollar bill

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My failed attempt at taking a photo with the bill + stupas

The park that the West Lake was located in was HUGE. There’s so much to see in the park! At one point, we rode a boat to another side of the lake, and at another point, we decided to take a break from the park and rent bicycles and ride along the perimeter of the park. I was really just following one of the roommates around, the lake was too big for me to figure it out on the map.

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Seeing clear blue skies and green trees was a nice change from Beijing’s city pollution scene

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Tons of boats were being rowed across the West Lake

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My friend took this photo while we were waiting to board a boat

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Another mini-lake in the Park. Tons of wedding photos were being taken here!

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Flowers everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We climbed up to a high tower to see the sunset across the West Lake

We climbed up to a high tower just in time to see the sun setting against the West Lake

I really love being outdoors. Beijing’s pollution has been really intense lately. The average pollution level in the past few weeks was usually anywhere from 150 – 300  (the US Embassy recommends wearing a face mask when it’s 150). So this trip to Hangzhou was literally like a breath of fresh air. Climbing the mountain (and bamboo) was also great exercise, because let’s be honest… I needed it.

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Just hangin’ around… on bamboo

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My roooooomate

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These are all tea leaves! I bought a little box of freshly picked tea leaves here.

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Picking tea leaves

I truly enjoyed our little mini-vacation in Hangzhou. It’s completely different from Beijing. Beijing is in the north, Hangzhou is in the south. Beijing has pollution, Hangzhou has clear skies. Beijing is a city, Hangzhou is more like the countryside. My only complaint about our trip was that it was too short, I definitely could’ve stayed for a few more days!

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

  • 3.14

  • March 22nd, 2014

Two notable things happened on March 14th.

1) Prior to this date, all the CET students (there’s a total of 29 of us in the Beijing China Program!) participated in a Chinese speech exam. The exam focused on the pronunciation and fluency of each student’s spoken Chinese. For those of you who don’t know, accents and pronunciation of words are EXTREMELY important when speaking Chinese. If you pronounce one character wrongly, you could be saying a whole different word. After the exam, seven students were chosen to participate in a final round to see which student’s pronunciation and speed was the best. Despite my “southern Chinese” accent, I was chosen as one of the seven students to participate in the pronunciation contest! So on Friday, we all had to read tongue twisters and sentences in front of all the CET students and teachers. All the teachers served as judges.

My friend snuck this photo of me during the competition

My friend snuck this photo of me during the competition

In the end, unfortunately I did not win the contest. But I was extremely happy that I was chosen to participate. Sometimes, it gets very frustrating when I speak Chinese in Beijing. I grew up listening to Taiwanese people speak Chinese; Taiwan is considered “the south,” so I naturally have a “southern Chinese accent.” However, after coming to Beijing, I realized that the northern Chinese have their own different accent. I’m learning Chinese in the north, so we’re taught to speak in the northern accent. I think having a Taiwanese accent is something special, and something that i’d like to keep, but I also think it doesn’t hurt to learn the Beijing accent. So I’m very happy that got chosen to be in this contest… and I even got a cool Chinese fan as a prize!

2) The second part of March 14th was that it was a holiday! I’m not talking about Pi day. This date is also my birthday!

After our pronunciation contest, at around 4:30pm, a bunch of my friends and I went to go eat “linner” (lunch + dinner) to celebrate. We went to this delicious hotpot buffet restaurant. Chinese people love eating hotpot, especially in the winter. Basically, there’s a boiling pot of soup on a hot plate and a bunch of raw ingredients on the side, and you place the raw ingredients into the hot pot. You wait for the food to cook, and then you eat it. I think it’s great to eat hotpot with a big group of people, because it’s an interactive food experience. At this buffet place, everything is 10x better because everyone gets their own pot, the food is unlimited, and everything tastes SO GOOD!

So I also learned traditional Chinese customs during birthdays. Most people eat cake on their birthday, but Chinese people like to eat noodles on their birthday. Noodles translated into Chinese is “mian,” and when you eat noodles on your birthday, it means that you will live a longer life. My friends told the hotpot buffet employees that it was my birthday, so they gave me a big bowl of “long-life noodles.”

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Birthday noodles!

It’s also customary for the birthday person to treat his or her closest friends. I think this is interesting, because usually in western culture, everyone will pitch in some money to pay for the person who is celebrating his or her birthday. (Because i’m American and we went out with a huge group of people… I had to skip out on this Chinese birthday custom).

I’ve really made some great friends here in China. After we all stuffed our stomachs with as much food as we could handle, we headed back to our campus, where I was surprised with cake and lots of presents. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to celebrate with my close friends from back home, but I’m very appreciative of all the new friends I’ve made and how well they’ve been treating me. You think that in 5 short months you wouldn’t be able to make such wonderful friends, but I know that I want to keep in touch with these friends even when we all return to the states.

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The beautiful cake my friends bought for me

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My two favorite Chinese roommates

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Great friends and study abroad companions :)

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

Before Spring Semester started, a few students and Chinese roommates from Beijing Janterm and I booked a weekend trip to visit Harbin – one of the coldest cities China. From January to February, the typical temperature ranges from -40 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit! My weekend attire?– A long-sleeve T, a sweater, a hoodie, an ultra-light down jacket, a winter jacket, three pairs of pants, and three pairs of socks. Why endure such low temperatures you ask? Simple: to witness the annual Harbin Ice & Snow Festival!
From the end of December until the end of February, the Ice & Snow festival houses extraordinarily detailed snow and ice sculptures. When the sun sets, the sculptures come to life with colored lights. Despite the bitter cold, my friends have raved about this place, so I knew I had to venture to this northern land. Braved in my extra layers and some heatpacks, we explored this frozen park. It’s like a winter wonderland! If you’ve seen Frozen, the new Disney movie, this is exactly the kind of place that Elsa could’ve built! I’m not sure how the sculptors were able to make art in that below freezing weather, but they sure did a thorough job!
Gooooooooorgeous

Gooooooooorgeous

The cold never bothered me anyway

“The cold never bothered me anyway”

 

Can you spot the frozen Empire State Building?

Can you spot the frozen Empire State Building?

 
Besides visiting this winter wonderland, we also explored Harbin’s most famous landmark – the Church of St. Sophia (great name!), and were able to meet up with some of the students from our January term. It was great to see our old friends again, and some new Spring semester students were able to book last-minute train tickets to join in on the fun as well. I’m sad that the January students have separated, but i’m ready to make some new friends as well.
Although i’m beginning the semester off with a icy cold start, Beijing sure is starting to warm up! We hit 50 degree weather in the past week, and when the pollution level is low, i’ve been getting some good exercise running around the track near our campus. Some of the students have signed up for gym memberships at a local gym, but I know I won’t be able to commit to exercising everyday because some days i’ll be too busy exploring Beijing… or doing Chinese homework. Beijing has so much to offer, and as Spring arrives, the weather will allow us to explore even more wonderful landmarks and outdoor fairs. Bring on Spring!

Me and KeTing (one of the new Spring students!) at the Olympic Stadium

Me and KeTing (one of the new Spring students!) at the Olympic Stadium

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

Picture 60 to 70 degree weather, shorts on shorts, and beautiful sunshine everyday. But wait! –it gets better. There’s a gorgeous view of snow-capped mountains right in your backyard, and the bluest sky as far as the eye can see. No pollution, no snow, no homework! That was my life for the past week. I could not have asked for a better travelling experience, or for better travel companions to take it with.

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I love these goofballs

 

If you ever have to travel, do it with a group of four people. Even though the number four (sĭ) means death in Chinese, travelling-wise, four is a smart number. It’s perfect for finding seating at restaurants, perfect for booking beds at hotels and hostels, and perfect for filling up a cab. Like Goldilocks said, not too small, not too big… it’s the perfect size!

My friends and I at Tiger Leap (Shangrila).

My friends and I at Tiger Leap (Shangrila).

More China traveling tips: I would not recommend taking Sichuan Airlines. Alyssa, Mike, and I had a two-hour delay at the airport, and when we finally got on the airplane, it felt like a rollercoaster.  Alyssa almost threw up, and Mike was scared to death. The only good thing was the airplane food was actually quite delicious.

We met up with our friend James (click his name to check out his blog!- it’s hilarious) in Kunming. He gave us a tour of Erhai, a BEAUTIFUL lake right outside of his hotel, and a street of trendy little restaurants and cafes in his neighborhood. Did I mention that he is studying in Kunming next semester – and that he lives in a hotel??? To top it off, he gets to enjoy the beautiful weather for the whole semester! Life is really unfair sometimes.

That night, we got abroad a sleeper train to Dali City. It was my first time on a sleeper train. We got hard sleeper tickets, cause the soft sleeper tickets were sold out. I was expecting to sleep on wooden boards, but the hard sleepers were pretty comfy! There are two sets of bunks in each compartment, and each bunk bed has 3 beds: a lower bunk, middle bunk, and an upper bunk.

Alyssa and James chillin' on the lower bunk.

Alyssa and James chillin’ on the lower bunk.

Our first official day of vacation started with Dali City, and it was one of the best days of my life. We woke up in the morning and rented bikes and mopeds (electric motorcycles) for the day. Renting bikes for the day only cost $5 per bike! That’s crazy, because renting bikes in NYC are about $30 per HOUR. We biked from 11am ‘til maybe about 6pm. Biking around the city allowed us to cover more ground, and see all of the beautiful sights.

Backroads of a countryside farm

Backroads of a countryside farm

The sky was so pretty... it looked like a fake movie scene background.

The sky was so pretty… it looked like a fake movie scene background.

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Everything in this city looked beautiful!

The little alleyways felt like we could've been riding Vespas in Italy or Spain or something.

The little alleyways felt like we could’ve been riding Vespas in Italy or Spain or something.

Our next stop was Lijiang. We actually didn’t spend too much time in Lijiang, instead, we headed towards Shangrila and decided to hike for two days at the Tiger Leaping Gorge. It’s basically two gorgeous mountains with a gorge/valley type thing in between them, with a river running through it. Legend has it that at the middle of the gorge, a tiger leaped from a stone on one side of the gorge to the other. The views were spectacular, and we stayed at a guesthouse at the top of the mountain. During the nighttime we went to the rooftop, played some music on James’ speakers, and snuggled up with blankets under the stars. Being a city girl, I’ve never seen so many stars in my life!!! That night, I slept so comfortably with these nice heated sleeping pads that the guesthouse gave us, and awoke to a breathtaking view of the mountains through my window.

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What is life???!?

An Insta of the view from my bedroom... incredible!

An Insta of the view from my bedroom… incredible!

We all got tan from this day!

Taking a dip in the waterfalls

Before the sun set, we practiced our slingshot skills. When night fell, this is where we star-gazed!

Before the sun set, we practiced our slingshot skills. When night fell, this is where we star-gazed!

 To end our trip, we headed back to Kunming, where we were able to meet up with one of our other friends – Brandon. We took a daytrip to the Stone Forest, and had a relaxing day roaming the Green Lake Park. We also decided to check out the nightlife scene in Kunming.

石林: Stone Forest!

石林: Stone Forest!

There were so many stones... they acted like trees.

There were so many stones… they acted like trees.

So now i’m back in Beijing, where it is currently freezing and snowing. I miss Yunnan already, and I wish I was still on vacation. However, all our Spring semester students have arrived! They’re actually all in orientation (returning students don’t need to attend orientation) as i’m writing this. So I am very excited to get to know all the new people and for Spring semester to begin!

Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

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Last Monday was the last day of our Janterm program! I may have mentioned this earlier, but just to clarify things again, my semester abroad is separated into two programs: Janterm, and Spring term. Janterm is a 4-week intensive Chinese language program, where they really drill us mostly in speaking and listening skills (of course reading and writing is also involved, but there’s more of an emphasis on speaking/listening). After Janterm, we have a 2-week break during the Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year. When the break ends, our Spring semester officially begins!So Monday was the date of our last big exam. We took a 2-3 hour exam with reading, writing, and an oral test. Everyone was preparing for it like crazy during the weekend! After the exam, we all got dolled up for our Graduation Banquet! It’s a little weird how we just go from a stressful exam to a celebration, but I was definitely glad that we finished our program. It’s been a really tough 4 weeks, and I was ready for a break. The only sad part is that some of the students are moving on to other programs. I’ve made some great friends during this trip, and it’s unfortunate that we all have to separate. Only 7 students are staying in the Beijing program, and 5 of them are Holy Cross students (including myself). Alyssa, my closest friend here at CET, is going to study at the CET Harbin Intensive Language program next semester. Harbin is up at the very northern part of China, so it’s going to be COLD. We’ve become great friends… I really hope I can find someone just as close next semester.
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During our Graduation ceremony, I was actually asked to represent our class along with one of the other students, Dani, with a short speech. We prepared some words to make the crowd laugh a little, and expressed our thanks to our teachers and the CET office staff. It was really an honor to be able to speak for our level B class, although I was extremely nervous as soon as we hit the stage. I’ve always been really shy as a kid, but I feel like every year i’m given more and more opportunities to talk in front of large crowds. I feel that i’ve gotten over my stage freight, and i’m perfectly calm before giving speeches. But as soon as I stand in front of an audience, I feel a thousand butterflies in my stomach and my legs turn to jello. Thankfully, our speech went really well – I had a great partner to speak with! We ended with a toast to all of our friends :)
My lovely teachers

My lovely teachers

Another cool thing that happened during our Graduation ceremony besides getting our Janterm Diploma was the fact that I won an award! Our school asked us to send in photos for a photo contest, and I got second place. The prize was $50 = 300RMB, which is a good sum of money in China. $50 can buy me over 10 dinners!
It’s been super busy here in China, but I promise I have more updates to fill everyone in on. 3 days after our Graduation was Chinese New Year, and i’m going to try really hard to get a video up on my blog. Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days, so there’s been A LOT of fireworks going on. Let’s hope my internet connection will cooperate. I’m going to the Yunnan province tomorrow to vacation for a week, so there probably won’t be any blog updates until I return. Yunnan is the province of “eternal spring all year round,” and we have a lot of exploring planned, so i’m very excited to share my experience when I return.
Cheers,
Sophia
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)

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Sophia Jin '15

  • Studies: Economics major, studio art minor, and Asian studies concentration
  • Hometown: Bayside, N.Y.
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  • CHINA
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