Episode 4

Monday, September1 – Sunday, September 7

As a warning, now that Mandarin classes have started, there is no longer that much free time in my schedule. Each week, I will have about fifteen hours of instruction in the language. The language is taught in three different sections: grammar/writing, speaking, and listening. Each day, two of the sections are taught in 1.5 hour increments. Each section is taught by a different professor, so there is always variety in the day. The grammar/writing section is the most intense and frequent, as it is held daily for the hour and a half. My week will break down as follows: 7.5 hours per week of grammar/writing, 4.5 hours of speaking, and 3 hours of listening. All of my classes fall between 8:30 and noon each except Wednesdays, when my classes run 10:20-11:50 and 1:30-3.

I’m really enjoying the classes so far. I’m being challenged already in terms of quantity of material; we complete one chapter per day in the grammar/writing and have a dictation quiz the next day to ensure we know the material. My nights have been spent practicing my characters and memorizing tonal pronunciation of the words. The language is considered the most difficult in the world to learn, and the challenge has me very excited. Despite the hours of Mandarin, I also must still attend the English-taught courses that CAPA has scheduled. The CAPA events/excursions are now limited mainly to the weekends, as the organization realizes that there is no way to easily schedule them into the week.

The course work has really helped with my adjustment here. Any homesickness I had over the last two weeks has quickly disappeared due to not having much free time. This semester will probably be one of the more challenging of my college career, but I am very much ready to accept that challenge and rise to the occasion.

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