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Bye Bye English

September 6th, 2012 arreta14

Before I post anything else I would like to point this out… Bai Bai (拜拜) pronounced “bye bye” is the best way to casually say goodbye in China, according to my roomate.

Wow! I let time get away from me, I was planning on bloging as soon as I arrived in China, but this jetlag thing has been harder to shake off than I imagined. Anyway, here now, safe and sound, settled into my room at the Beijing Institute of Education. So much to say, so little room to say it. I’ll show and tell you as much as I can about my adventures thus far…

I arrived in Beijing on Monday August 27th. Stayed in a local hotel for two days, moved into the Beijing Institute of Education on August 29th and I have been here ever since. The college itself is built right into the city with small shops on either side of the main entrance. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what the campus itself is like.

The front entrance to BIE. This is the main building on campus and the only one you can see from the street.

The front gate.

The west building. This is where our dorms are.

The east building. This is where we have our classes.

Typical classroom at CET. Small, usually has either 8 or 4 students.

Side note on academics… CET’s program consists of classes from 8:25 am-11:30 am, every day Monday through Thursday.  (I hear we get more classes come next week) The classes consist of one large class for the first hour with a class size of about 8 students and one teacher. Then afterwards we have 2 hours of drill classes with a class size of 4 students and one teacher. Every night we also have homework to help us review the day’s lesson and prepare us for the next day. In general it takes about 2-3 hours to finish. On Friday, we have our weekly test, which lasts from 8:40-11:30.

In addition, there is also a full-time Chinese language pledge (which began on Monday September 3rd), which I’m proud to say is upheld by students both in and outside class (or so I’ve seen). This means all courses are taught in Mandarin Chinese, and students only speak Mandarin Chinese. Don’t let that sound too intimidating. The professors will not use English, but they do understand how hard and frustrating learning a foreign language can be for students, so they are usually willing to repeat or try to clarify themselves if the class is moving too fast for students. Also, this is just a verbal pledge, we are allowed write down words in English and show them to professors if we cannot explain ourselves using Chinese.

My dorm room at CET. My stuff on the right, Yuan Quan (my roomate)'s stuff on the left

Side note… my roommate is from China and his name is Yuan Quan. He’s a medical student studying traditional Chinese medicine (herbs, acupuncture, massage, etc.) at a hospital in Beijing, which I think is awesome!! In addition he’s a really nice guy, and like me, loves music and running. He’s even planning on running the Beijing marathon soon. I will not be joining in on that (running 26.2 miles, breathing in Beijing’s air is not something I’d be too excited about). But what is also really great about him is how much he knows about, and wants to teach me about Chinese culture.

Yuan Quan and me in our room

The basketball court. This is right behind the main building and we can check out balls and other equipment from the CET office

The cafeteria. (I'll try to get a better picture later). Still getting used to real Chinese food. If I'm having a rough day and don't like what they're serving, I can always get yogurt or make myself a PB&J sandwich in here.

The crusader. Got him from the bookstore just before I left. Needed something that was REALLY Holy Cross-ish to bring with me. You'll be seeing him in other pictures later.

Typical bathroom at BIE. There are two different bathrooms on each floor: a shower bathroom and a toilet bathroom. Shower bathrooms have 3 showers with reliable hot water. Toilet bathrooms have 3 western toilets and 1 Chinese toilet. Oh word to the wise... the toilets do not have their own toilet paper, you need to bring your own.

So… yeah that’s what we CET students see everyday. Hope I’ve given you a good glimpse of the campus. Gotta get back to studying (big Friday test tomorrow).

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Andrew Retallick '14

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Former Blogger