Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chinese Class

I didn’t think studying abroad would be so much work! I just completed my first week of classes and I’m boggled by how much work we have to do. First off, we are all required to take 12 hours of Chinese a week with a dictation-writing test every morning. They put me in level 2 at first, even though I’ve told them a million times that I can’t read/write Chinese, I can only speak a little bit. I sat in that class for the first day, and couldn’t read a single word in my workbook. It was all Chinese characters, without even pin-yin on top. After class, I went to find the lady in charge of the Chinese program so I could switch into a lower class. I want to get switched into class 1A, because they are starting from the beginning and I need to learn everything from the start. Instead they put me into 1B, which isn’t too bad; at least there’s pin-yin in the textbook. I guess I can suck it up and just work harder for this class. The first couple of days weren’t too bad; we had to memorize about 50 Chinese characters a day. I’ve never taken a single class before, so I don’t know the right form for writing these characters, instead I picture each one as a drawing, and basically draw it the way I think is right. After handing in my first homework, the professor marked half of it wrong because I didn’t write the characters from left to right, top to bottom. This is so frustrating! I tell her I’ve never taken a class before so I don’t know the correct form for writing Chinese and ask if I can get switched into the lower class. She tells me I can’t, because I speak too well to be put into that class. I had to look for the head lady in charge of Chinese and bug her until she let me switch into the beginners’ Chinese class.

Chinese class is hard, but so are the other three classes I’m taking. These professors give out so much work! Do they really expect their students to read 50-100 pages every week?! I’ve gotten by classes at Northeastern without even buying the textbook, and here they expect me to read?? This is total nonsense. Out of the three other classes I have, only one speaks decent English. For my management class, I have no clue what she’s talking about. The lady just stands up there and mumbles for 3 hours and then expects us to go home and read 50 pages of articles she found online. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t have the mind span to read so much boring articles.

I thought study abroad was supposed to be easy. Maybe I just picked the wrong study abroad school.

Thursday, February 12, 2009



I’m here in the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. This is not what I expected, at all. The campus is old and run down. The area around it is really dirty and crowded. I guess I expected more from the pictures I saw. Hopefully, the other students here will be cool at least. From the moment I stepped onto campus, I realized how different China is from America. The moment I stepped onto campus, I got yelled at in Chinese. I look Chinese, but I don’t speak the language. Well, I barely speak it. I ask the security guard for a cart to push all my luggage’s into my dorm room. I ask in English, I get yelled at in Chinese. I’m not sure if that’s just how they speak or if I’m getting yelled at. I have a piece of paper with Chinese writing that teaches me how to ask the security guard for a cart in Chinese. One problem, I can’t read Chinese! So I shove the paper in the guards face so he’ll stop yelling at me. He stares at it for a minute, and asks for my passport. I hand him my passport, he hands me a cart. I stick my hand out for my passport back, and he finally speaks English! He tells me “Bring cart back, you get passport back.” I’m definitely starting off on the wrong foot at this school.

After wandering around this small but spacious campus, I finally find Building #8. First thing I see are clothes hanging out on the balcony. Once again, I’m turned off by this school. I walk inside and meet the ‘ah-yi’, that’s what we call all the ladies that work in the dorm building. One of the ah-yi’s asks for my passport; I tell her I don’t have it because the guard in the front is holding it hostage until I return my cart. I explain everything calmly in English and she just stares back at me blankly. Finally two volunteers, who are students of SUFE come to help me out. They translate for me, so the ah-yi calls the security guard and explains to them that I’m part of the Alliance program and I need my passport back. Finally after about an hour of translating and confusion, I get to my room. Room 1208 is what I’ll call home for the next four months. The room is about the size of a Stetson East double except it includes a bathroom. Or what they consider a bathroom. It’s really just a showerhead, toilet and old fashioned sink. There is nothing to step into to get into the Shower, water just gets everywhere. I am really starting to regret my decision.

The two volunteers stayed around to help me get settled in. They’re actually really nice compared to all the other people I met on campus. If everyone else is this nice, I won’t hate this school as much.

This is the end of my bitter post, will update more as I become less bitter. Hopefully…