Thursday, June 18, 2009

News, news, news!!!

Yey! Changes for the better!

Today the exam frenzy kicks off, with an essay exam. Funny this thing with writing essays in Chinese. I used to hate it. Now I kind of enjoy it. As long as we can use our dictionary while writing I don’t mind it. It’s kind of fun now when I can experiment a little bit more with the language than before, and also don’t need to look up every single little character that I want to write (yeah, because believe it or not, but I have actually managed to learn quite a few by heart! All those endless hours of character writing has finally paid off. Yey!).

Yesterday I went into the office and asked for a graduate certificate after this semester.

-OK, write down how long you’ve studied here on the back of your photo, said the woman with a tired voice. (Wow, they really keep track of you… not!)

I did.

-So, what’s next for you, she said in an attempt to be polite.

-I’m changing university.

-Oh that’s great.

4 seconds of silence.

-What do you mean you are changing university?

-Well, I have found a new university where I am going to continue my Chinese studies!

-Oh, you are moving?

-No, here in Suzhou.

-What?! We are the only university here in Suzhou?!

-Not anymore….

And yes, this is true. And yes, this is my latest news (that kind of make me happy thinking about!). I’ve found a new university in Suzhou. It has one of the longest and most silly names, mainly because it has a lot of exchange program with other universities. But I think the actual name goes: Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University.

It’s quite a new place, that’s been open for only a few years, so all of their facilities are new. It’s also more expensive than Suzhou uni. But with a complete different approach to learning compared to where I have studied before.

For instance, I’m going to study together with max two other students! And I’m very likely to have a few private classes a week. And, last time I spoke to one of the uni’s the teacher she suggested I would take a weekly Chinese History/Culture Class together with a bunch of Taiwanese students. (The reason why I will get so much ‘alone time’ is because I am the only ‘gao ji ban’ –high level class- student at their uni atm. So I guess all of this is party because of luck/timing too. But from what I was told the other students study in small classes. I think the max is 8 student/class, or even less)

I almost fell off the chair when she told me. Private classes + small classes + classes together with natives!? It’s simply too good to be true. And, what a chance for me to finally, really improve my Mandarin!! Ah, I’m so happy about all this!!! And I seriously cannot wait for next semester to start!

-So why are you changing uni? The teacher at Suzhou uni asked me, mouth still not quite closed.

-Well.. where do I start. I’m not very happy about my last semester, and especially not about the teachers. Like our spoken Chinese teacher. He spends the whole lesson speaking, but doesn’t give us a chance to say anything. If I need to listen to Chinese I can turn on the radio or the TV, I don’t need to pay for 4 classes/week of listening to a man reading our textbook.

-Oh I see.

-I believe many students have already told you guys this. And the students from last semester too.

-Eh… I don’t know.

-Well anyways. I’m looking forward to something new!

-I see. Good luck.

Yeah, good luck to them too! I’m off to new challenges!

And I guess that also answers the question of what I am going to do this fall. I’m going to give Mandarin one, final big go.


alan said...

Good for you, Jonna!
Here in U.S., we have almost finished 1/3 of the summer holidays.
Speaking of learning a foreign, in my case it is English, my adviser asked me to "immerse" myself in English which includes talking to my wife in English.
Even though I have taught 4 courses in English here in U.S.. I still got nervous when I talked about something I had never said before in English or when my students asked me something I never heard before. I guess I will only be content with being good at speaking about the jargon in my field.

flyingfish said...

Congratulations! That really is great news.

Here's hoping your summer in Finland refreshes you (I guess anyone remaining unrefreshed by a summer in Finland is pretty much unrefreshable) and you find that next term at the new university answers all your expectations.

Little Tiger said...

Wow, this is great news! Your Chinese is going to improve at an enormous rate. I won't be surprised when SHE in China will actually be in Chinese so!!

Emmy said...

Good for you! Sounds like an awesome opportunity. So awesome that you told them exactly why you were leaving to.

NavlGazr said...

很好! 我想你是很好老外中文学生!
You are an inspiration to us laowai who are desiring to become fluent in mandarin!

chinamommy said...

just found your blog. i adopted my daughter from China 5 yrs ago, so i love to read anything about CHINA! She is from Jiangxi Prov/ village of Xiushui. i have a blog called: chinamommy
Glad i found you & will now follow your adventures in China!!
Misschell (chinamommy)

Pete In Syracuse said...

Wow! this sounds GREAT, I'm so excited for you. I hope this matches up to your expectations. I would've loved to see the jaw drop look on their faces when you told them. I was wondering why you were jumping for JOY in your photo....I now know why ! You go Jonna !!

afritzse said...

Glad to hear the good news. I also found a good, experienced Chinese tutor where I live.
I've found that language exchanges over the Internet, when you're not in China, are also a good way to learn. For anyone looking: Just search for "language exchange" on Google!

Brad Farless said...

Hey, that sounds great Jonna! I'm glad you found a school that takes education seriously. Hopefully this won't turn out to be a "grass is greener" situation though.

Plumflower said...

Grattis till ett förmodligen bättre val!

冰蓝 said...

The moment I saw the university name, I could not help but laugh. You know what, I was a graduate of Xi'an Jiaotong University years ago! It is located in city of Xi’an with very strong engineering majors, but at that time, I never heard it had any Mandarin teaching courses. Glad to know it extends to suzhou and offers well-devised courses to reach out for keen foreign students like you!

Anonymous said...

Way to go!

One thing that caught my eye was that they mentioned being with Taiwanese students. Why are Taiwanese students learning Mandarin, when they already speak it?(or did I misunderstand something?)

I think you'll have fun with them though. They have their own local slang you can learn. I guess it'll be like how Americans say "That's cool!", and English say "That's wicked!"



Stina h. said...

Congratulations - so happy for you!

Jonna Wibelius said...

alan -yeah, immersing yourself is the best way... but I am like u. As soon as I hit 'unknown territory' with my Chi language skills I feel like a beginner again.

Flyingfish -thanks! Yeah, it is great news indeed. And I am excited about learning again. Woho!
Summer in FI will def help refresh me. Let's just hope we get some sun over there as well.

Little Tiger -I'd be very surprised if SHE in China would be in Chinese... haha. Although I don't dislike writing anymore I'm still not good at it... but the new classes at the new uni will def help me improve. Yey!

Emmy -yeah... normally I don't complain but this time it felt good :)

Navl -thanks!!

Misschell (chinamommy) -that's great to hear. Must be quite a journey itself to adopt from China.

Pete -Thanks!!! yeah I'm a bit pathetic when it comes to jumping shots.. can't get enough of them. But I think they are more fun than posing shots?! Haha. And yeah, as for their faces, they were quite priceless! :)

afritzse- hey, thanks for sharing that. Maybe I should get into that during the summer since I will be away from China then.

Brad F -Oh I hope so too. I'd be devastated if it did. Oh well. Just have to hope for the best and do my best! And take it from there...

Plumflower -tackar tackar! längesen man 'hörde' från dig! :)

Ira -haha! Funny! Must be a good uni then, huh? Well, learning Mandaring at their uni is still a quite new thing.. they apparently focus on exchanges with other unis. So let's see. Can only hope it is good!

Adrian -well that's the thing.. the Taiwanese won't be learning Mandarin. they will be studying a normal class of Chi history and culture, and I might be taking that class with them. So this class is not any 'Chinese language studies class' but probably the hardest class of them all since it is for natives... But the teacher thought I could give it a go. So why not.

Stina -thanks!!! :) I have to consider myself quite lucky to have found this uni.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jonna,
I've been reading your blog for several weeks now (preparing myself for my moving to China in august) and it's been very helpfull so far. I was thinking about studying Mandarin and you just made my choice easier, I will give it a go!!

I will keep on reading your blog and hopefully in a few years I will be able to communicate a bit, and also become a "smart loawai" hehe :-)