Well it's been a very long time since I've posted an update, so here goes. Just finished up the first semester of 4th year, one more to go which starts at the beginning of March. Should be graduating in July. We are still in Cambodia, for obvious reasons. I feel like my Chinese has gone downhill, simply because online classes just aren't the same as actually being there, and the environment here is nothing like as helpful for learning as being in China.
Some classes were a complete waste of time. Learning about world literature in Chinese is interesting to a degree, but something I will probably never do again, and so I feel my time could have been used much more productively. With 30+ students in a class, the time to talk was minimal, and the exams were somewhat of a joke. It's always nice to get good grades, but far better when you feel like you actually had to work hard to get them, and the exams were a challenge.
Currently writing my thesis on 《三体：地球往事》，which has been incredibly interesting and enjoyable. We have until June to finish the whole thing, and it's supposed to be around 10,000 characters (which really isn't many for a 'thesis'). I've written 13,500 so far and just sent it off to my tutor a couple of days ago. He said there are no major issues, just a couple of sections are a bit too short (comparatively), so I will go back and edit those. Feels pretty good to have the bulk of it done a few months early, and will certainly make the final semester far easier. I feel a lot more confident with my Chinese now, even though it has fallen behind somewhat, and when I think back to starting first year, the improvement has been vast. Certain tones are still a big struggle for me, especially when speaking fast. The 4th tone + 1st tone combination really trips me up! It's going to be great to graduate, but really for me the point was never the degree, rather I want to be able to converse fluently in Chinese, and continue to build on that in the future. I will give a full report when I graduate, but if I had to go back I would still choose to do the degree, as the benefits have outweighed the struggles and frustrations.
At this point I highly doubt we will be getting back before graduation, and with having to redo visas for the whole family, quarantine, pay for flights, find a place to live again, I am actually quite relieved about that. Would love to go back to China, but not just for a few weeks before graduation.
As I say, a more in depth review will come in a few months when I am finished, but just wanted people to know I am still here and still trying my best to study hard!