Friday, October 18, 2013

Chinese School

So this has been my first week going to a full five days of classes at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine--so cool! Finally going for a full week is really allowing me to settle in, and see things with clear eyes, instead of the initial "ohmygod where is my classroom i'm so late" sort of eyes.

First, I want to say that after all of the headache that it took to manage, I want to say that I am actually really glad that I am going to a different University for classes that my other flagship classmates. NUCM is almost entirely made up of Chinese students, a big contrast to Nanjing University, where I could go all day just speaking English with all of the foreigners. I see a foreigner once in a while, but they are few and far in between. In one of my classes, Basics of Chinese Medicine Theory, and I am the only exchange student/flagship student there! It is really cool to be completely immersed in my classes, it feels like such a once in a lifetime kind of thing: 难得可贵!

Second, I want to say that I think everything that they've ever told us in America about how lucky we are to go to school there, and how school in Asia is really intense, is like 100% true. All the buildings are grey and look exactly the same, and are like a maze. And then once you find your classroom, you're teacher may or may not show up, or the room might have just changed an no one told you, or the class was just cancelled. Luckily I didn't run into these problems, but lots of my class mates did. And then, once you pin down the class, and the time, and the place, you actually have to like, go and attend the class.

Class in China is sitting and listening to the teacher talk into a microphone at the front of the class, while she/he clicks through a powerpoint, which is just lines copied from the book, that you are supposed to have in front of you. There is no eating allowed, but you can drink tea. The desks are indescribably uncomfortable, because the chair is attached to the desk at the weirdest distance from the table, and you can't move it around, and sometimes the chairs are broken. During class, if the teacher asks you a question, you stand up, and find the answer in the book as fast you humanly possible, and then read the paragraph where the answer is; none of this "say it in your own words" nonsense. Also, there seems to be some elusive kind of system where the teacher hopes that you will finish her sentences, and that if you have correctly memorized the material, you will spontaneously say the answer/finish her sentence in unison with her and the rest of the class. The one thing that the teachers seem to be lenient on is talking in class, and at some points during the lecture, a wave of low-pitched talking rises up, and literally every student in the class is just talking, and the teacher's sadly amplified voice is like, completely drowned out. But she never says anything, it is just so odd.

I also have a short break between classes, where I like to just walk around and check things out. There is always people riding around two to a bicycle, or best friends holding hands. They broadcast the campus radio program over the loud speakers outside for everyone to listen to, and they really like to play Coldplay's "Yellow." It give things sort of a sweet feeling, walking around listening to "yellow," eating tangerine's in the twilight...

Overall, I am really enjoying my classes out here. I feel so lucky! Also, I took some photos of the campus, you can check them out here.

P.S. Just a note for future Flagship students: If anyone is reading this and is wondering if they would like to take classes at Xianlin area, where my school is located, let me just tell you up front that it take A REALLY LONG TIME to get there. They tell you in the office that it takes an hour, but you best be getting along a good hour and a half before your class starts or your ass is about to be late. *huffing* That is all.

秋高气爽了!Happy Fall everyone!