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So how was your first day of classes?


edelweis
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Hi Prateeksha, thank you for taking the time to write this structured report. It looks like you have found a solution to all of your problems except for the 8:30 classes :mrgreen:

The whole process seems much more hassle-free than bunny87's Wuhan experience, probably due to the sheer number of foreign students that go to BLCU... do you have an idea about how many students total are registered in your level? and how many students are there in your class? Do some of your classmates just skip class and/or fall asleep in class, as others have reported in other universities?

And, I guess the daily cooking takes some time :P but if you have 4h of classes every day and only a few minutes of homework, that still leaves quite a bit of free time. I'm just curious to know how you spend that time (studying by yourself? getting more exposure to the spoken language? socializing? resting?)

Also have you been to the BLCU library? I love libraries :mrgreen:

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In general, it sounds like Prateeksha is having an easy time. I do believe Beijing should be easier since it's accustomed to more foreigners. For example, straight up asking students to pay *ahead of time*, rather than letting them arrive and find their bank cards frozen so they can't do anything at all. Or saying a REAL and functional date for students to arrive by and have everything completed. But then again, now i feel useful and feel like making a post about Wuhan U for reference on the forums :) it'll be the first of it's kind! (I hope).

I would though, like to know how many students are in the BLCU classes as well. I'm sorry to hear that it's difficult to eat vegetarian in BLCU. I know everyone has varying degrees of tolerance, but check out all the cafeterias at various times (breakfast time, lunch, dinner). There's always rice and noodles that you can find meat free at Tsinghua. They also had fruit bowls and rice porridges. Additionally were these zongzi thingies (red bean paste in the center of a rice ball that is covered in sesame seeds, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled/steamed). I also absolutely fell in love with the orange squash/pumpkin stuff that was available (huanggua 黄瓜), and eggplant (qie zi 茄子) dishes (which were cooked with tofu most of the time, not a meat. i know, because i always hated the stupid tofu). I don't know what's exactly available at BLCU, but so far I've found the same eggplant dishes, huanggua dishes, rice and noodle dishes out here in Wuhan. Also, they have the onion naan and plain, puffy bread balls (面包) available. Oh, and they also have the stir-fry/mongolian station where you pick what you want (just don't pick meat) and they cook it right in front of you. and the soggy lettuce/cabbage dishes aren't so bad either.

to find all my beloved food, i had to go to the cafeterias and be disappointed several times. but it was totally worth it once i found what i needed. (my diet is that i don't eat pork, nor fish, nor egg. i also would prefer not to cry over every meal because it's so spicy or lose feeling of my mouth because of those 嘛 peppercorn numbing things). i hope you find what you need too :)

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@prateeksha Very structured and easy to read post! It was very informative!

As far as cooking every day goes, that's probably the best for your budget. I've never been a fan of buying breakfast/lunch/dinner every single day. People say it's more convenient but if you are going to be there for longer than a few days then you would think that you could plan your meals...

For some people money is no object I guess. I'm not picky about my food, but if I had time and money to plan my meals, I would go for the cheapest, healthiest food I could get my hands on.

Sure it's fun to try new foods, especially Chinese food, but really, you could learn how to cook Chinese food. Treat it just like studying Chinese and don't expect it to be PERFECT at the beginning when you're still learning. Who knows, if you get good enough and ask for tips from your friends and classmates, maybe people will start buying YOUR food. ^_^;

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@areckx - in China, it's cheaper to eat out than to cook in. Especially so in the cafeterias on campus. If you don't like eating there, you could always order it and take it home with you, and eat it for the next couple of meals too... At least, this has been my experience in Beijing and Wuhan too.

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Same deal in Taiwan. I eat breakfast at home almost every day, but that's only because I haven't found a decent breakfast place near me. But it's quite feasible to eat well on about US$6 per day here, or even less if you eat in the cafeteria. If I lived near a good 豆漿 place I could eat 鹹豆漿 for breakfast for 30NT (about US$1). Lunch near my school can run anywhere from 40NT to 250NT depending on what you're in the mood for, but I usually spend around 70-80 (just under US$3) for a good, balanced meal (meat, veggies, and either rice or noodles). Dinner is similar or sometimes night market food, which is tasty and cheap. You can easily overstuff yourself for 80NT in a night market. So that works out to 190NT on a normal day without even being careful, which is just over US$6. If your budget is a little higher, you can go to a conveyor belt sushi place and load up for 200 or so (though you can get a bento box at lunch for about 100NT), or go to someplace like KGB Burger and get a gouda cheeseburger made with imported beef. Of course if I wanted to, I could eat plenty for a day for 120NT (about US$4), but that would require me to eat at the cafeteria, which isn't very good, but rice and soup are free there. Of course, you can spend as much as you want on food. There's a prix fixe steak place near my school that costs 1500NT (about US$50) per person, and there are even more expensive places in some of the more upscale shopping areas.

The one night I spent in Shanghai last month I got a huge bowl of fried rice with beef, sausage, and lots of veggies (and unbelievably spicy) for 10 kuai, and that was just the first street food place I found. So I'd imagine it's similar in China.

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Edelweis: I think all of us have a problem waking up at 7 am in winters :mrgreen: For me winter has already arrived in Beijing. Compared to the weather back in Delhi I am used to, this IS winter! :shock:

I don't know how many students are in my level, but my class has 25 students. Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Gabon, Central Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, US, UK and of course India - the world is right here in my class! To add to such a huge variety of nationalities, our laoshi would always ask us to explain situation in our respective countries. For example, we had a chapter in the textbook about the traditional Chinese viewpoint on marriage and love. She asked all of us to explain our views and our national traditions of marriage. This is just one instance. If there would be a chapter about food, then she will ask us about food in our country. Not only does this make it such a fulfilling experience to know other countries' trivia first-hand, but also helps us a lot in opening up and expressing our thoughts using Chinese.

There ARE students who take a nap once in a while, some who are just not interested in participating or giving answers and some who skip. I have heard BLCU is pretty strict about attendance. I wonder what will happen to these kids eventually.

bunny87: I assume, yes, it is more convenient in terms of pre-arrangements and service quality here at BLCU, for obvious reasons that it is a university for international students [not to forget they charge a bomb for fee :mrgreen: ]. Thank you so much for the suggestions you gave. I have been offered similar ones before too, but for me, it's not just the matter of not having a meat piece in my food. I have heard [and read here itself] too many instances of food being cooked in lard, or the same oil being used to cook meat and vegetables or the same ladle being used to stir both. o the person making this meal it might be too trifle an issue, but it matters a lot to someone who doesn't want any, any sort of animal flesh, oil or blood in food. So I would rather happily cook for myself :) Sometimes it is a hassle when I am tired, ill or just not in the mood, but I feel good about it. I have been an out-and-out vegetarian all my life :)

Areckx: Now that is what I have been thinking too. I am going to learn some of those gravies they make pretty soon, now that the vacation is here!

May be it is cheaper to eat out than cook yourself. My roommate who just finished her degree and left BLCU is a Chinese-Malaysian and she was a vegetarian too. She would cook herself all the time, or go and eat at a vegetarian restaurant nearby [天厨妙香]. I have met a couple of another vegetarians here [one Kazakh, one Indian] and they both cook themselves. When i told my teachers I do not eat any kind of meat AND fish [you have to tell that especially that you don't eat fish too], she said of course I will have to cook myself, no other way out :(

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@prateeksha: thanks for the details :) BLCU sounds really cosmopolitan.

regarding food, I remember that my Indian colleagues would always take care to book a hotel close to the liangmaqiao underground station, so that they could have dinner at the punjabi restaurant. Google maps says:

transparent.pngtransparent.png本杰比印度餐厅Punjabi Indian Restaurant

地图上的定位标记大约为

中国北京市朝阳区朝阳公园路

邮政编码: 100125

获取路线

010-58670221

It it not close to BLCU, and probably not cheap (can't remember the prices), but perhaps it can be useful once in a while...

(They do have non-vegetarian dishes as well.)

Regarding the weather: it will get worse. Also from experience with Indian colleagues: you will need several layers of thick, warm clothes at some point :mrgreen: and it may snow :shock:

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Hello, everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying themselves during National Week. I attend NUIST on a Confucius Institute scholarship and I am studying Mandarin for one academic year. my first week of classes ended last week. The teachers are interesting to say the least. My listening teacher speaks 99% in mandarin and since I am average in mandarin, I only get a small fraction of what she is saying. The funny thing is that I like it because if i keep listening to her, I can understand everyone else around me without having them to repeat themselves. My oral teacher is really fun as he teaches us extra stuff that the books don't and he's funny. My comprehensive teacher teaches us characters as well as speaking. I know a lot of characters because I took Japanese at a very high level at my old university and the simplified characters aren't that far off from the Japanese kanji. She also teaches us extra things as well. All in all, I had a great first week and i set up a blog since this is my first time in China for anything. If you guys are interested it's http://chaoliang.livejournal.com/ . Hope you guys have a great time!

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Yea from Mongolia, Mauritius, Indonesia, Vietnam and some countries in Africa. I swear i knew these countries existed but I didn't know where they were on a map until I met them lol They are pretty cool and most of them speak English so that makes it easier to hang out with them after class.

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@prateeksha - oh, that is definitely too strict for the cafeterias then. home is the way to go. do you ever buy frozen food? i saw some jiaozi's filled with veggies in the freezer section and thought of you. while you're at it, have you ever made sesame noodles? i make it at home and love how quick and filling it is.

@oneeye- i love street food too much. but i think i need to avoid it. or at least i hope it's the oil and not the air. ive started getting pimples... something i never had as a teenager and something i don't welcome now as an adult! especially 3 months before my wedding!

@edelweis- scholarships are best used when you're already in the system. For all the problems at Wuhan that I've encountered, if I stay for a 2nd year at Wuhan U, my office will get the scholarship for me. Half of it is that they want to keep me forever teaching there, half of it is because it only takes a little of their time and none of their money and makes a great gift. whether or not i teach. :)

@rewsay- i have had the SAME problem. but i just use the blanket excuse "you know american's don't know geography. it's not that we're dumb, it's just not a part of public school anymore to learn geography outside of the USA and Western Europe." One French classmate totally agreed about American's not knowing geography. What a great guy. He then proceeded to tell a joke about this American guy who didn't know where North Korea was. A Chinese friend, jokingly, pointed to Australia. The American's guys response was "woah, i didn't know N. Korea was so big! no wonder we need to take them down!" Anyways, I'm really no good example. I never heard of Burkina Faso until this semester. But i was serious about the fact that we never learned geography except for the US, and a little of Western Europe.

Final "first class" update

I went to my 阅读 (reading) class. That junk needs to be renamed 快快地阅读. holy crap. first off, i bought the wrong text book. they threw in book two in the bundle, and i needed book 1. so i was sharing a book with a guy that was in 3rd year Chinese but bumped down to 2nd year. so he is having a relatively easy time. The entire class consisted of "read x passage", once i got to the 2nd or 3rd line, the teacher would say "okay, student x, how would you respond to #1. reads number 1." the entire class went like this. he picked students via the attendance list. after going through all of the questions, he would go back and have some kind of evil laugh and say "so do all of you understand?". Naturally, we're all just silent. So then he actually goes back and explains words that he KNEW we didn't know. For example, we apparently read a passage on freaking MOUNT KILAMANJARO. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHARACTERS IT TAKES TO WRITE THAT ONE MOUNTAIN IN CHINESE? I sat there, furiously using pleco on one character at a time. thank god i bought every single dictionary. one of them eventually realized i was spelling it out. jesus. half of the reading time we had i spent on there. mind you, almost everyone goes as slowly as i do if they want to understand the actual passage. However, they learned from the first class that you are reading for general comprehension. so out of 3 paragraphs, i'm on the 2nd or 3rd line, they speed read until at least the 2nd paragraph and then find the answers, and then go back and review the little things. while it sounds like it's horrible, it's really not. god forbid you actually prepare for class, you'd be all set to be successful in this class. can you prepare for the tests..? probably not. but the teacher is teaching us shortcuts. we went over radicals and how they can be used to get by and did a few activities with them. essentially, it's not necessary to know it's mount Kilimanjaro. i just need to know that it's some mountain and is x tall. that some German missionary found. bla bla bla. the teacher knows his stuff, and actually teaches well. but i'd put my money that he's at least partially insane and has no social life since he probably just reads books all day. he really enjoys reading, but he can't handle the class clowns. he just bursts out laughing for 5 minutes straight because of a regular joke... we spend those 5 minutes laughing at him, but i don't think he realizes it. all in all, it was good. though, he made a comment about women being the ones who talk too much. so i have personal beef with the guy now.

The books used for my classes are ALL Peking University Press books:

综合:Boya Chinese, 准中级 part II. (blue book)

阅读:intermediate chinese reading course中级汉语阅读教程 book ONE (green book).

听力:中级听力教程 (上册 第2版) (orange and white books-one for 课文,one for 生词和练习)

写作:homemade packet with a purple cover. not a PUP book.

口语:中级汉语口语book ONE, from Peking university press. (teal bordered book).

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@bunny87: I once told a Chinese guy that, like most French people, my English accent is poor. He heartily agreed and then proceeded to give me supporting examples :tong ah well. (Not that I could locate Burkina Faso on a map either.)

I hope the bookshop lets you exchange the yuedu book. Great info that you gave us about that class.

@rewsay: so you have people to hang out with, that's nice :) How did you adapt to the timezone difference? also, do you have a list of books for your classes?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, 中级 is more difficult than 准中级.

Boya's intermediate books are comparable to or more difficult than most other series' advanced books. Actually IMHO, Boya's levels are more realistic than most other series and is one of the few series that has really advanced books.

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  • 1 year later...

Hate to bring back a dead topic, but with most Chinese universities starting up again I think it would be appropriate to post experiences of our first day of classes. I am also curious how many of the CSC Scholars are doing in China now and what it is like for them. My first day of class is on the 10th and I will be sure to do a short write-up later on.

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