2007年08月20日

Summer School in Beijing

I stayed in Beijing from July 16 to 23, 2007.
The Beijing Olympics 2008 is just one year away, and the preparations in the urban areas seem moving on at a good pace. Signboards at the main street corners are decorated with a lot of colorful advance publicity, and old buildings are being demolished for replacement with new ones. It is noisy everywhere in the downtown areas.
The main purpose of my trip was to attend a summer school to learn Chinese in Beijing, and the next day of the arrival, I visited the Academy of Arts & Design, a Qinghua University-affiliated college. At the application desk, I was recommended to take a one-to-one teaching course rather than attending a class lesson because of my limited length of stay.
My instructor Ms. Lao looks young like a student, but actually she is in her middle thirties, and married as well. She speaks in a loud and clear voice, and is tough with teaching. If I make a mistake or delay in response in exercises, I am exposed to her strict behavior. The explanatory texts in the textbook, which is as thick as 200 pages, are written in both Chinese and English, with the contents mostly focusing on pronunciations and pattern exercises.
The Chinese and Japanese languages share the same or similar characters in writing, so foreigners often think that Japanese people will learn Chinese quickly, but that is not true. Chinese is rather difficult to learn; one of the main reasons is that its phonetic structures are extremely different from Japanese. I often faced a lot of difficulty communicating with local people during the trip.

Evening walking
Good friends like to walk holding hands.

Construction booming
The evening rush hour

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