School started this week, woohoo! I’m super excited because this is what I have wanted to do for a couple of years now – study Mandarin full time and become really awesome at Chinese! It hasn’t been a realistic dream while living in Copenhagen (both from a financial perspective and learning environment-wise), but when our relocation to China was confirmed, it was obvious that this was my chance to make it happen.
I’m attending the full-time, non-degree Chinese language program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China’s top universities and the 70th best university in the world according to QS World University Ranking. I started a 6-week summer program on Monday, and in September I’ll go on to attend the “real” long-term course that lasts a full semester. I have signed up to study until January 2017, but let’s see if I’ll be able to continue in the spring as well (or even longer).
My current class consists of about 25 hungry Chinese learners between ages 18 to 60 from different parts of the world (USA, France, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea and Canada to name a few). In addition to my group of 25, there are probably 100-200 other international summer students attending classes on different levels, as the university offers courses for everyone from beginner to advanced.
The classes are taught mainly in Chinese, but English is used when needed. The pace is pretty intense as the plan is to cover one new chapter/topic a day. That’s a lot of new vocabulary, characters and structure to memorize, yikes..! But fear not, my motivation is off the charts and I will be killing it, haha!
I have class every weekday from 8:20-11:40, and if I want to keep up I better make time to study in the afternoons. Former students that I have spoken to have also recommended getting a tutor a few hours a week, as the amount of “personal attention” from teachers is limited with classes of this size. Makes sense, I will definitely look into it sooner or later.
So as most of my friends are going on summer holidays and amazing vacations around the world, I’ll be studying my a** off. But hey, I get to take huge steps towards my goals in life, and that makes me feel pretty awesome and grateful. :)