Sure thing! So the book I was too lazy to grab is called 'Conversational Chinese 301'. It's not bad, but unfortunately it has pinyin all the way through. I find it so hard to concentrate on the characters when the pinyin is written underneath, but in theory you don't even need to pass HSK 3 to do this degree so I can understand it. The degree itself is 'Chinese Language and Literature', and the only requirement was high school graduation, so very easy to get in for. However, once you're in it seems like they won't have a problem kicking you out if you're not serious. My teacher was not amused today when a guy strolled in an hour late, and another of my teachers said our class will probably go from the 28 we are out now down to around 20 students or so in the next couple of weeks as they deal with people not coming to class etc!
Tomorrow we will finish the final chapter (8) of the first book of the 'Threshold' level of the Road To Success series, which contains 4 books. On Wednesday we are meant to have a test on all the characters we have covered in the book (there aren't actually any in there, but we either had to find them or were given them so we could learn them). By the end of the 4th book in this series we should have studied 1200 words (according to the back of the book). The next stage then has 2 books, which gets us up to 3000 words, then the final stage has another 2 books, leaving us at 6000 words. I actually really like this book, in fact I really like all the books we are using, I have found them especially helpful for stroke order. I am far from perfect, but I find myself actively thinking about stroke order and getting it right much more of the time now. Also, even though they are beginner books, I find I am having to learn characters that I would never have taken an interest in learning to write otherwise (things like fruit and vegetables). This is great because it means I'm not getting bored just hearing stuff I have already learned repeated.
Last Friday I gave a brief description of a family photo. It was an on the spot thing rather than prepared, so it wasn't until afterwards that I realized how bad it had been! I pretty much just went through and said who everyone was, pointing at people or using the colour of their clothes to describe them. I should have been using words like 旁边，前面，后面 etc. but I didn't. Anyway never mind, it was good fun and reminded me to slow down and think a little bit more before I speak.
The quality of the teaching at this point is fantastic. It's almost 100% Chinese which is great (although obviously spoken at more of a basic level so we can understand). Our 'comprehensive' teacher relies very little on the book, and breaks off into his own little world all the time, which I actually really like as we end up getting all sorts of new words and culture points out of it. He also teaches us things that we probably wouldn't learn for a while otherwise, like 公主病， 王子病，or how Q is commonly used in place of 可爱 on social media, or 3Q for 'thank you'!
It's hard to know what to put in an update, but as I said, I would love to look back on this in 4 years and remember the start of this journey, so most of this is for me rather than anyone else! But if anyone has any questions or anything, then please feel free to ask!