Wǒ zài Fùdàn dàxué xuéxí Hànyǔ

Week 3 at Fudan is (almost) over. So, as promised, a post about my studies at the university so far. Yes, it’s about time.

I think I’ll start at the beginning, with my early mornings. My alarm rings at 6:30am every morning, in order for me to be ready and out the door by 7, and on the metro by 7:03 (amazing, no?). The metro is incredible. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve fallen in love with this form of transportation. I thought London was amazing, but Shanghai’s system beats all. It’s new, fast, and most importantly: on-time. Oh, and in English. It was love at first sight.

After an extremely comfortable 30 minutes (I’ve become a master at claiming a spot on the benches that line the tube), my metro rolls into Jiangwan Stadium. The 10 minute walk to campus that follows goes along a route that’s calm and green. Shanghai is polluted and its skies clouded by smog, but the chemical dangers seem far away when you’ve got this to look forward to every morning:

The campus is gigantic, but the Guanghua Building/tower (the large one in the picture above) can be seen everywhere. Our little teaching building is a little further on, where Mao welcomes us to class every morning.

I think everyone in Shanghai, or at least at Fudan, has a bike apart from me. They drive like maniacs. It’s a great shock to the system in the morning, and if that doesn’t wake you up, then the electrical-scooters and cars driving through red lights will.

My schedule is divided into 4 classes: 2 for Reading and Writing, a Listening and Speaking Class, and finally a Chinese Character class (my favorite). In total, there are 20 teaching hours in the week, and about 80 characters to memorize every week, along with 80 phrases and expressions.

While Chinese sentence structures are fairly simple, the fact that all 4 of my teachers now only write in characters (hànzì) make the classes challenging. The rewards of being able to communicate in Shanghai make it worth it. Shanghainese (the local dialect) is like a completely different language, but standard Mandarin is spoken by everyone too. So far, I’ve learned how to order food and talk to taxi drivers, have a conversation about where I’m from, where I live and where I study, and discuss what I’m going to buy at the store. All in 3 weeks. Who knows what I’ll learn in 6 months, or a year?


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