I’ve safely arrived in Beijing, China! I’m staying at the Beijing Institute of Education, which was about an hour car ride from the airport. My flight was a little over 13 hours long, through Air China. I managed to sneak in a few tiny naps (they weren’t long because I couldn’t stay asleep), watch half of an American film, watch a Chinese film, and read my plane letters. I would definitely recommend anyone who is traveling for a long period of time to get your friends to write you letters. I received tips on studying abroad, poems and quotes of encouragement, and lots of stories about nostalgic memories.
Here is a personal shout-out to all the friends who wrote me a letter to read on the plane: I sincerely appreciated each and everyone of them! They were a pleasure to read. I got a ton of laughs and smiles while reading, and some of them even made me tear up a little bit. It really set the mood for my study abroad embarkment.
Here at BIE, all of us have been placed with a Chinese roommate. Most of the roommates arrived yesterday, but unfortunately, my roommate is currently studying for final exams so she isn’t arriving until January 3rd. Our rooms are really nice – they are slightly bigger than my room in Carlin this past semester!
My sleeping schedule has been really off this week. Falling asleep hasn’t been a problem, the real issue is waking up at 6:30am every morning. No matter what time i’ve been going to bed – 2am, 10pm, 1am, or whatever, I find my body automatically waking up at 6:30am and unable to fall back asleep. So needless to say, i’m pretty tired and could use some more sleep! This may be due to the Jetlag, since we are 13 hours ahead of US time.
The first two days here, we had a student orientation where we were given a tiny bit of time to adjust to our new homes, learn more information about the program, and take a language placement exam. Our language placement exam consisted of an Listening section, a Reading section, a Writing section, and an Oral. I got placed into the B level class (A is the lowest level, D is the highest level).
Today was our first day of classes, and our language pledge began promptly at 8:25am. Basically, the language pledge means that we all vow not to speak or listen to English, therefore we have to talk to our teachers and to each other solely in CHINESE, 24/7. The struggle has been real, because our vocabulary is limited! Sometimes, it’s taken us 5x as long to say something so simple as “Do you want to go check out the supermarket?” or “Is your wifi working?” It’s a strange experience, but I believe my Chinese will significantly improve after this! I think the biggest struggle will be memorizing everyone’s names… in Chinese. Here are just some photos from the past few days!:
Coming here has made me very appreciative of our internet connection. The wireless has been very spotty, I had to reconnect so many times while Skyping with my dad last night! I just realized that they provided us with an Ethernet cable though, so hopefully my internet connection will be good enough for me to try to add some videos that i’ve taken.
If anyone has any questions, comments, suggestions on places that I should see in China, etc., just let me know! You can either comment on this blog post, or i’ve made an anonymous ask box that you can contact me at here: http://jinning.tumblr.com/ask. I’ll be checking the ask box during the duration of my trip, so feel free to ask away at any time!
再见 Zàijiàn (goodbye),