A most exciting start to classes!

Hello everyone! 大家好!ערב טוב, Bonjour!

I’ve now been feeling as if I’ve been in [中国] for months now, not for nearly 3 weeks! Almost a week ago we were told very briefly that something about an opening ceremony would happen that night and to all meet at 7:30. We dutifully got ready and got on a bus that whisked us away. We had no clue where we were going! When we arrived, it was mobbed. We made our way up into what was revealed, in front of our eyes, to be a stadium!

It turned out that ‘opening ceremony’ was a misnomer, it was more like an opening festival! There were proper hosts leading the show and acts performed by [学生], including a performance by some of the international [学生] who were at the university last year as well.

^ My phone camera is quite good so I managed to zoom in quite a bit. I was sitting with another scholar near the very top of the seating so whilst we were very far away from the stage we got an awesome view!

The opening ceremony marked the start of the new school year. And with the start of the new school year came my first week of classes. We did a placement test when we first arrived and I ended up in class E-1 (or as we say, Yī E! [it sounds the same in Mandarin]).

It was certainly a shock to my system. This was less like being thrust into a frying pan, and more like being thrown on top of a pyre! The classes are conducted entirely in [中文] with maybe an [英文] word or two thrown in to clarify. As I have mostly self-studied up until now it was especially difficult on the first day. But as the week went on I found myself being able to understand more and more. My favourite class so far is “Chinese writing”. Remembering all the characters and their stroke orders is quite hard but the [老师] speaks clearly so I can always understand what she says.

To help me remember the characters I use special tricks to remind myself.

The character is made up of different characters called “radicals” that make up more complex ideas. So I remember how to write the characters by remembering a little story based off of the radicals. What do you guys think the best way to remember things is?

I’ve been finding the first week challenging but fun! I’ve been studying and practicing lots so that I’ll improve at a rate of knots. How have you guys been finding school?


中国 - China (Zhōngguó)

学生 - Students (Xuésheng)

中文 - Chinese (Zhōngwén)

英文 - English (Yīngwén)

老师 - Teacher (Lǎoshī)