北京欢迎您 , 像音乐感动你。。。！(translation: Beijing welcomes you, our hospitality will move your heart)
That was the background song I kept on singing over and over once I stepped in Peking University (北京大学). I couldn’t believe I was going to attend the same university as Mao Tse-tung did, or be surrounded by walls that once influenced the birth of China’s New Culture Movement. I was standing on what many call the Harvard of China—what a dream come true!
It’s been exactly a week since I left home and honestly I can’t better resemble my experience than with a roller coaster ride—tough Fabiana cried herself to sleep the first three days, made really interesting friends, got lost using Beijing transport, bought really good tea, (mistakenly) ordered pig leg soup for lunch on Monday, bought a bike on Tuesday, and today feels her Chinese is only improving.
On Sunday, the “fearsome” language pledge took place. After the clock turned twelve the apartment suddenly got very quite, we weren’t allowed to speak a word of English until 5pm on Friday, and if we did, a warning would follow us home the first time, and the second time we would be kicked off the program. We were even told that if we got stopped on the street by foreigners we should tell them “对不起，我不会说英语”(translation: Sorry, I don’t speak English). The struggle just got real.
Day Three under this pledge and today I broke the rules (sorry Mom&Dad). You should have seen the face my teacher made when I said “literal translation” in class when wanting her to explain some grammar structure. I had reached to the point where I got so frustrated trying to explain my question that I just had to say it! My guess is that she’ll let this one pass, but for the record I understood the grammar structure right after.
So far my experience with the program has been much better than I expected, I have class from 8:30am to 4:20pm everyday. My day is divided between a spoken Chinese class, a one-on-one with my own personal tutor, a one-on-one pronunciation class, a grammar and vocabulary class, and finally a drill/practice class at the end of the day. I receive so much attention from all my teachers—I honestly feel I’ve already improved my Chinese so much! Little by little, I am starting to get more comfortable with conversations in Chinese and also explain more complex ideas. 我非常愉快！（I am very happy!)
Although I keep on waking up at 4 am because I am too tired to study after my lessons, I love in experience in Beijing so far. I came in knowing the program would be tough, so I now need to adjust to the workload and organize my day so I better my sleep schedule. I look forward to the next few months here!