Okay so I just decided to put up a blog because I saw someone else put up one for their studies. Small background information: I'm a master’s degree student studying Interpretation (Chinese-English English-Chinese) at Beijing international studies university. I first started learning Chinese in 2011 in the USA and have studied in china before, first in Harbin in 2014 for 5 months and then at BLCU from 2014-2015. I took a year language prep courses at my current university from 2016-2017. There are a total of 3 non-Chinese students (including me) in the course.
My first week was a pretty rough start. I flew back into Beijing on the 2nd of September and went to register for classes that following Monday only to find out that registration was on the 1st. Okaaaaay. I tried to find out my schedule but the department head was gone, office locked, and thus no one knew the schedule. The lady I spoke with (who turned out to be one of my teachers) was nice enough to put me into contact with a second year student, who later put me into my classes wechat group and gave me the schedule. It also turned out that I missed the first day of class (Monday) sigh. Lol.
(my schedule is under attachments)
The politics class isn’t necessary to take, and neither is the Wednesday morning class. Those classes are just for Chinese students to take.
The classes are a lot of fun. Many of my teachers seem to have more of a ‘western’ approach to teaching so I get the impression they’ve had experience living or studying abroad. They love to use English in class. Its really quite normal to hear a teacher switch from speaking Chinese one second then English the next. Then there are some teachers who speak exclusively in English. Which is fine by me as a native speaker, but my other foreign classmates find it a bit hard to keep up because English isn’t their mother tongue.
One of my favorite classes thus far has been the 视译 (sight translation) class. It’s a mix between simultaneous translation and written translation. One of our first classes the teacher had us translate a sentence that she would delete as time passed.
Wednesdays last class （口译理论与技巧） is quite a useless class for me. It’s about improving spoken English. I’m trying to see if I can just take a Chinese language course in place of this class as it won’t benefit me at all. Even the teacher was confused why I was even in the class.
There was one class I went into (one minute late) that was completely filled. My vision is bad so I thought I saw a seat available up at the front of the room (toward the window), but that wasn’t a seat. I stood in the middle of the room struggling to find an available seat and the whole while the professor kept lecturing without a notice in the world at the strange foreign girl just standing in the middle of the class, even my classmates seemed unphased.
I have a few impressions so far based on my (almost) first two weeks of class.
1) Chinese students are insanely gifted. They’re very talented and I was so amazed after todays class that many could memorize the short hand the teacher taught (same day) in less than ten minutes). I’m also impressed every day by their abilities in the classes. I don’t think I will ever be as good as any of them but I think I could learn a lot by the end of the program.
2) I don’t think that foreigners were supposed to be in this major. Actually it seems at times that they aren’t really sure what to do with us. There are only 3 of us and yet none of us have been on the roster. When I spoke to the office about it I got a very sassy reply that went something like ‘OF COURSE you’re not on the list. You guys didn’t take the test that the Chinese students took’. The fact that we have essentially a spoken English course also notes that perhaps they weren’t prepared for foreign students. There was even one teacher that asked if we needed a grade for the class. It can be bit discouraging, but I’m not the type to get hung up on trivialities.
3) The Chinese classmates think all 3 of us foreigners are stupid and can’t speak Chinese. Maybe we are stupid, but we’re all in this class because we CAN speak Chinese. It really baffles me when I have classmates ask me if I can speak Chinese, or worse, the one guy who turned around to face me and instead of just asking me if I understood, he decided to ask the girl NEXT to him ‘you think she understands?’ uh? What? Excuse me? That’s just rude AF. If you wanna ask something ask me to my face, don’t ask about me like I’m not even there, or do it when you’re not facing me. That’s just obnoxious. I was so cold to him you have no idea.
4) Students get to class something like 15-30 minutes before class begins. I normally get to class just in time and end up in the last seat available or at the very back. One day I managed to get to class early by 15 minutes and most of the room was filled, I got a seat on the side which was okay by me.
That’s about it.
Oh and my classmates fear me. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my hair style? At first I thought I was imagining it. But then my friend also noticed the same. Noones ever feared me before. It’s kind of empowering but I wonder what I can do to fix that.