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2nd week: First week of classes at HNC

September 24, 2011

This week we started our classes- it was hectic, just like shopping period was (sob!) at Yale. Since the dorm rooms are semi-attached to the classrooms, it really feels strange to walk just a minute to class. I’ve also found that my sleeping patterns are better than they were in college- instead of being awake until 3 AM and getting up at 9 AM, I’ve maintained a healthy continuum of sleeping at 11-12 PM and waking up around 7-8 AM. My roommate has really been interesting…overall, I like her as a person. But, there’s definitely been some strange cultural issues…
Regarding classes, we all got up at 7 AM to wait for the classes server to open at 8. (And I’ll address the prompt from Light here too). I decided to study abroad again after PKU-Yale (Spring 2009) because I wanted to improve my reading and writing in Chinese to a highly proficient level. Because the classes here are (introductory) graduate-level classes taught in Chinese, I hope that I will be able to have few problems by the end of this semester.

For this semester, I chose the following classes: Modern Sino-US Relations, International Law, and either Contemporary Chinese Foreign Policy or International Economics (I can choose either one, and need to decide by the end of this week). These courses are all in Chinese. I am also auditing two law courses in English (that will hopefully help with law school applications and such): History and Philosophy of Law in the West, and International Criminal Law.

We have classes this Sunday (tomorrow) to make up for the National Day Holiday (Oct 1-8). Unfortunately, I will not have a break since I am taking my LSATs this next weekend. Hoorah!
Also, I found a hilarious picture of a company named Harvard (window cleaners?) a picture should be attached!
Until next week then!


One week in Nanjing, at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center!

September 18, 2011

First of all, I apologize for not updating my blog as much in Taiwan- I had a lot of unfortunate things happen to me there, but overall it was really a lovely experience. I absolutely recommend every interested Chinese learning student to spend at least a summer in Taiwan and experience the completely different culture it offers from China (mainland). People there are extremely nice- and it was really a perfect mix of east and west. The only turnoffs were the hot weather and the bugs (cockroaches) ugh! Otherwise, National Taiwan University was gorgeous and my Chinese improved so much from the ICLP program that the new participants (Chinese students) in the Hopkins-Nanjing program have mistaken me for a fellow Chinese student!

Coming to China, I definitely felt a huge difference. I would say that the cultural shock I had coming from Taiwan to here was greater than the shock I had going from the US to Taiwan earlier this summer. There are lots of things I can’t really say…especially on a public blog…and I’m just going to leave it at that. I really do feel lucky to have a fellow Yale graduate (2011 as well) with me in the program. The program is cross-cultural, with Chinese and American students living together- which is definitely interesting and useful, but also a great challenge. As a Chinese American, I have felt a severe identity crisis while being here. Most curiously, Chinese students assumed I was Chinese (this is the FIRST time- 2 years ago in PKU-Yale, people knew immediately that I was American-born); The problem with being mistaken for being Chinese would not have been such a big issue, except that I experienced Chinese peer criticism for speaking English so much (and always being with American students). I received a brilliant idea from a classmate to start pretending that I cannot speak that much Chinese, which I may try out this week.
On the bright side, my Chinese skills allowed me to lead a huge group of international students to the local gym and bargain for a lower membership price!

So far last week, we had orientation- classes start tomorrow at 8AM!

Arrived in Taiwan!

June 6, 2011

After months of anticipation, I have finally arrived in Taiwan (thank you Light)!  My plane ride here was a series of 3 flights, the first local one with a sketchy flight attendant guy who tried to find out my name (by looking on my ticket) and facebook (I just told him it was blocked…); the second international one to Tokyo was slightly better (I chatted up a high school graduate about to enter NYU, and endured a strange vegan meal of heated rice and mandarin orange segments, as well as a Japanese businessman who took up the left side of my seat and armrest); the best flight was probably from Tokyo to Taipei (quiet with better food).

Since today (June 6, 2011, or the fifth day of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar) is DuanwuJie (Dragon Boat Festival) commemorating Chu Yuan’s death, there are Zongzi to eat (pictures to follow).   Apparently, there are two kinds, the Northern and Southern varieties- one has meat, while the other has chestnuts and egg yolk.  Since I’m still feeling a bit of jet lag, I will just watch any races on TV. 

Tomorrow, I am excited to register at NTU and then meet my renter…I called her today and she answered ‘Hiiiiiiiii’ in that traditional girlishly cute Taiwan tone…so she’s probably an interesting character ;p.  I promise I will have pictures once I set up my camera and figure out how to put it on the blog!

One week left in the States before Light starts!

May 29, 2011

It’s unbelievable that May is ending already- I’ve graduated(!) and started working on my post-college life immediately- I still have nightmares about not preparing for finals though (just had one last night)!  I am also apprehensive about spending an entire summer and year away from the U.S.- I have never lived abroad for that long!

Beyond LSAC-based applications and preparation, I’ve gone thrice to NYC in the past few weeks to obtain my Taiwan and Chinese visas.   I would advise other Light fellows to just use a travel service-  I wanted to save money but in the end it cost me a lot of time!

Anyways, next time I blog I will try to put up pictures. By that time, I expect to be saying Hi from Taiwan! ;D

Anticipating graduation while preparing for Taiwan

May 14, 2011

Even though graduation is about a week or so away, I have spent a good chunk of time preparing to leave, since I am planning for an entire summer and year away from the U.S.  I thought I had finished almost everything, but suddenly realized that my bank does not have an ATM in Taiwan. So, now I am concerned about how to carry/withdraw cash there.  Apparently, all ATMs charge a small fee of 7 NTD, but there are international atm fees depending on each bank…I just can’t figure out how much. Also, I seem to have found a place to rent via email, but since I am arriving at 10 pm the first night, I’m not sure when/how I shall pay since the other party hasn’t talked about contracting yet or anything.

Otherwise, the tree pollen count this week has been ridiculously high- I have severe allergies, and I feel bad for anyone else who has them.  Hopefully, this weekend’s rain will make us all feel better 😉

Senior semester of college: 2 finals to ace!

May 3, 2011

Hi everyone,

This blog is set up to record my serendipitous experiences and thoughts during the Light Fellowship, from June 2011 to 2012.  I am very grateful to the Light Fellowship for giving me this awesome opportunity to go abroad and improve my Chinese in Taiwan and Nanjing.  I’m currently looking for an apartment in Taiwan O.o which is a bit scary because I don’t want to be scammed.

Otherwise, I am really excited (and a bit scared) about graduating, and looking forward to my journey in Asia!  Since I still have finals to study for, I will update this blog as soon as I finish the last of my finals in the last semester of college.  Just be forewarned, there will be a lot of psychology and maybe even anthropology viewpoints in my posts 😉