Beijing Arrival and Orientation 2014

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Wow. Wow. Wow. It’s so exciting to be in China now. There’s definitely a lot to get used to especially as I’m getting over the jet lag, and it will be very interesting once the language pledge begins. 

Arrival

Wow. Wow. Wow. It’s so exciting to be in China now. There’s definitely a lot to get used to, especially getting over the jet lag and remembering to only speak Mandarin! After a 12 hour flight, not including layovers and other transportation time, I arrived in Beijing on June 11, 2014 around 3:00 pm. To say the least, I was exhausted! I don’t know how people can travel like this yearly and even more than that. Overall, my flight was relatively good compared to what I’ve heard from my 同学 (classmates). One person had a long layover in Paris! At the airport, I met up with another girl in the program who was on the same flight as me. We landed in Terminal 2 and had to be transported to Terminal 3 for CET pick-up. Once we found the group, we waited for the shuttle bus to take us to campus. We finally made it around 6:00 pm, I think. By this time, I was too tired to know exactly what happened. When we got to the dorm, we checked in, got our room keys, and lugged our suitcases up four flights of stairs! Some people wanted to go out already and explore the neighborhood. I tagged along for a little, but decided to head back early with two other girls who also wanted to rest before having to wake up the next morning to take a placement exam.

Placement Test and Orientation

I was nervous, but not as nervous as I have been for tests in the US. I think this is because of how numb I felt from the previous two days of travel. The test comprised listening, reading, writing, and speaking. After, we had short orientation presentations on safety and campus surroundings. Orientation and roommate meet-up takes place Thursday through Sunday. One of the highlights of the second day in Beijing was going to Carrefour to shop for daily necessities. Carrefour is like a super Walmart or Target, but in China.

Jet Lag

Yup, I’m feeling it, but I’m trying to do as what everyone suggests: try not to take long naps and try to stick to the local time.

Bathrooms

On our dorm floor, we have a shower room with one washing machine, a women’s bathroom, and a men’s bathroom. The bathrooms have two western styled toilets, one squat toilet, sinks, and a water boiler. I’ve tried the squat toilet, and it was not as bad as I imagined, but I am not still worried about the public bathrooms.

Dorm

I was assigned to 栋楼(East Building). There is also West Building. The campus is pretty small, so getting to each building probably only takes five minutes. The dorms and buildings are not as clean as what I’ve experienced in the US, but it’s also not as bad as some people make it sound. However, I had my first sighting of a cockroach in the women’s bathroom this morning – yikes. If people don’t like bugs, then I can see how they can be a little freaked out. I don’t like them, but as long as they aren’t trying to harm me, I can tolerate.

Weather

It’s humid. It’s hot. But, it’s not much different from a hot summer day in Minneapolis. I was really worried about the pollution, especially because I have asthma, but so far, it is definitely not as bad as people and the news depict. Sometimes my chest has felt a little heavy, but I make sure to take my inhaler, and I have masks if days are unbearable. From what I’ve seen, most locals do not wear masks.

Food

I’ve only had the chance to eat at the cafeteria so far. I am looking forward to exploring and tasting new places around the neighborhood, but I’ll definitely have to be careful about the street vendors.

Language Pledge

A lot of us are nervous about this. The no English, only Chinese rule starts Monday, the first days of class. Although it will be difficult, I am looking forward to this aspect of the program because this will truly help us to get out of our comfort zone and improve our Mandarin!

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