University of Wisconsin–Madison

A Whole New World

Blog post #2  Saturday, May 30, 2015

Maybe it’s the jetlag. But maybe not. All my life, I have been the exact definition of a night owl, going to bed after 1am, getting up after 11am (if I don’t have class the next day). Now, for some reason, I have become an early bird since arriving in China. I will admit that I was still jetlagged the first couple of nights, but I do not consider my sleeping patterns to be due to jetlag the last few nights. I have yet to sleep past 6:30am (the only time I slept until 6:30am was just today…which is a Saturday)! If I could “sleep in” until 7am, that would be quite the feat!

Our rooms are actually hotel rooms, not dorm rooms. However, the hotel (by far) is not a five-star hotel, so it’s pretty on-par to dorm rooms. There are two desks with desk lamps, one night table between the beds, a closet, a shelving unit, a TV on a TV stand, and a Western-style bathroom (for which I am forever grateful).

My roommate situation worked out really, really, really well. This is Ashley’s second time here, so she knows her way around, and it’s super nice on my part because I don’t feel so lost in the city. Since there is no dining hall (just the hotel and class buildings), we have to go out to eat pretty much for every meal. One of our favorite places to eat is “Cheap Street” (it’s not actually called that) because – well, you probably can guess from the nickname we gave it – the food is cheap and pretty yummy, too.

Ashley and I are also taking the same classes: 4th year Chinese and Chinese Linguistics. We are the only two students in the 4th year Chinese class! In Chinese Linguistics class, there are 5 students total. I love the small class sizes because not only do we have more opportunities to participate in class, but also we form pretty close relationships with each other. Compared to the other years of Chinese I have taken at UW-Madison, 4th year Chinese is much harder – not because of the content we are learning, but because of the fast pace of the class (we are doing two semesters of language in one summer) and the type of test questions (they’re all essay and short answer questions, no multiple choice or fill-in-the-blanks).

I also really like the teachers here. I am surprised how much more intimate student-teacher relations are here compared to in the US. Everyone here uses WeChat, so we would add teachers onto our WeChats (which would be similar to adding teachers on Facebook) so we can contact them outside of class for anything class-related, or for questions in general, too. My birthday was yesterday, and the teachers bought a cake for me! It was a chocolate-strawberry cake and sooooooooo delicious! My 4th year Chinese teacher even gave me a birthday present! She’s really good at origami, so she made me a flower :). A few days ago, our Chinese Linguistics teacher asked us if we liked to drink tea. We said yes, and thereupon she replied, “I will bring some tea to class for you all to drink!”

I love all the people here, both the teachers and the students. I can’t wait to learn more about everyone here and to experience new things in the following weeks! 再见for now!

My origami flower birthday present from my 4th year Chinese teacher 
My origami flower birthday present from my 4th year Chinese teacher 
My beautiful and delicious birthday cake! The green bits are pistachios!
My beautiful and delicious birthday cake! The green bits are pistachios!
小笼包(steamed pork buns) from “Cheap Street” – only 6RMB (about $1)!
小笼包(steamed pork buns) from “Cheap Street” – only 6RMB (about $1)!