-What about the other girl that you mentioned? You said we were going to be 2 students?
-Yeah.. well, turns out her Mandarin wasn’t good enough. So it’s only you.
Only me, huh? For lessons, Mon-Thu, 9.30am-4pm (with a lunch break 12-2pm), sometimes 4.30pm? Right!
Well OK, one course I will take together with others: A brief introduction to Chinese Culture, on Mondays and Tuesdays. That’s apparently some kind of lecture that I will study together with students from Hong Kong and Taiwan?
-Might be a little bit hard for you! The teacher said.
But I am not complaining because I wanted this challenge. I just hope they don’t believe my Mandarin is better than it is. Because really, it’s not that great. Especially not when it comes to reading/writing.
Other courses I will take include: Intensive Chinese, Communication with Chinese students (2 hours of hanging out with Chinese students, haha! They have even assigned me a special contact person who’s supposed to take care of me and introduce me to new Chinese friends), Chinese speaking, Reading Chinese new online and Business Chinese. All within four days. I have every Friday off. Quite nice actually. They have also scheduled Taiji for me every Monday (7-6pm) and Kung Fu every Wed (5-6pm) but nah, I think I’ll skip all that and stick to my gym routine. I don’t really want to live on campus. And I do enjoy going to the gym where I hang out with my old friends; Rocky, Frank and the other trainers. They provide me with great moments of practicing my Chinese + a fair deal of laughter. Plus, as soon as I have gotten rid of this flu I want to start my running 3 times/week and bodypump 2 times/week routine. Not sure how long I’ll be able to stick with that but nothing wrong with having goals, right?
Back to the registration. After being handed my schedule I was taken downstairs and introduced to the Student Societies: about 100 Chinese people who (at first) just starred at me. Then, one guy came up to me and asked if I could speak Chinese.
-Sure, I said.
Two minutes later I had been asked to join the liaison society (?), the debate society and the literature society. The whole society thing is completely new to me. I did my uni degree in Australia and there I was a member of the guild simply because it was compulsory. I kept away from all the “foreign students associations” and stuck to the university’s basketball team. More my kind of thing. So imagine how out of place I felt when I suddenly got all these “society invites.”
I politely declined all the invites and found a comfort corner: the sport society. There I signed up (and I swear I saw a girl secretly applauding when she saw how tall I was) and afterwards I was given a brief interview. The sporty girls wanted to know if I was a:
There was great excitement amongst the girls asking me until I replied “no” to everything.
-Eh… but I do like running. Long distance running? I tried, just when they were turning away.
-GREEEEATTTTTTT!!! We have running competitions too! Excellent! You have to compete for us! Yey!
-Eh, I’m not really a professional runner, I just run because I like it and I think it’s fun….
I stopped short. Nobody was listening. They were already looking up the dates for the next race/ writing down my phone number/ measuring my shoe size.
But I’m sure it will be an exciting experience at this new university. I’ll start off the day with a lesson of Intensive Chinese. Here we go!