It's my last week in Beijing, but Ihave decided I would write about some of my experiences here before I head back to America in about three weeks. Hard to believe we have all been here for 12 weeks already. It has definitely flown by without my even realizing it. We all have finals next week so this weekend will mostly be composed of studying and preparing for our end of the year travel trip. My classmate Erin (fellow Linfielder) summed up what our schedule was like for the past 12 weeks pretty well. We would spend around 8 or so hours at school and would come home and spend about 3-4 hours doing homework and preparing for our next day's class.
Each day we have had 5 classes. In the morning we had our speaking class from 8:30-10. Then I would have my one-on-one class from 11-12. During that hour break between classes one of my classmates and I always headed to a coffee shop on campus to study for our daily quiz. Afterwards we have an hour and a half lunch break before heading to our comprehensive class from 1:30-3:30, then having drill class from 3:30-4:30, and last but not least our tones class from 4:30-5:15. I definitely can see a progress in my Chinese level, which I am proud to say is due to taking the immersion program here. It's hard and stressful but it's definitely worth the results.
On the weekends my roommates and I would have time to sightsee and travel as well. It was nice to be a tourist at times and really try and get to know Beijing. I have gotten a hang of the subway system here thanks to my travels and adventures. Makes me wish I had one back home--it's extrememly convenient and very cheap, only 2 kuai. roughly 6 kuai = 1 American dollar. During my time here I have visited Beihai Park, The Forbidden City, and The Great Wall. I have always explored different shopping centers, coffee shops, and other various locations. The coffee here is surprisngly expensive, and is also considered a sign of social status. If you see someone with a Starbucks coffee cup it probably means they have a good salary, or so it is assumed.
The end of the year travel trip is a two and a half week exploration to different parts of China. I have personally decided to go on the purple line, which goes to Xi'an, Chengdu, and even Tibet! After our travels we come back to Beijing for two nights to say our farewells and then I am catching a plane back to America on December 13th.