As I hinted before in my previous post, I’m going to Peking University this July to take classes!




I still can’t believe I’m going. I mean this entire thing has been really last minute (and I mean as in I was a day late for the deadline) but I just couldn’t not, you know? *mmm that grammar though…*

The person in charge of engineering study abroad often sends out emails saying like “Come to Italy to take Statics!” or “Want to expand your global savvy? Come study in Hong Kong!” I usually looked at them and wanted to go but then the price made me drop the idea quickly. I didn’t have to go abroad in the summer, I told myself; I’d get my chance later when I went to Korea to study. But I continued to read through the emails regardless.

One day I received an email saying that a student could take six semester hours in China for less than the typical study abroad cost. As soon as I saw the statement about the tuition being less than usual, I jumped on the opportunity and emailed the coordinator back, not really expecting anything. I wasn’t completely sold to got to China either; I just wanted to get out and do something unexpected and out of the ordinary this summer. I was originally planning to just take classes over the summer on campus. But because I’m an out of state student, I would only take three semester hours rather than my preferred six because adding an additional three semester hours meant a lot more money.

I went in to talk to the study abroad advisor to speak more about the PKU opportunity and he did a good job making it sound fun and whatnot but I was mainly concerned about the price. He eventually came to the topic and what he told me blew my mind:

Including airfare, it cost less to take six semester hours in Beijing than taking six semester hours at Iowa.


…In other words, that sold me (and my parents) and I decided to go.

Now it’s not like all I had to do was say yes and then it’d be smooth sailing until I leave. Nope, there’s still paperwork and the Chinese visa I have to deal with. And also, for myself, I want to learn as much Mandarin as I can before I depart.

Let’s put it this way: international Chinese students on campus usually come up to me speaking rapid fire Mandarin, assuming I’m Chinese. Now take that and multiply it to like infinity and beyond and that’s what it’ll be like when I’m in Beijing. On the plus side, I now know how to say “I’m Korean” in Mandarin and that got me out of several situations. But when I’m in Beijing I’ll need more than just that. So with the rest of May and all of June, I’m hoping to get to a level of functionality in Mandarin so I won’t be completely and utterly lost.

Also, I want to educate myself about the history and culture of China. I want to be able to fully appreciate the historical landmarks we’ll be visiting and be able to understand better the people I’ll be meeting. I’m hoping to be able to read through some books and write some posts about what I’ve learned.

Today is Day 1 for ‘Prep for China’. I’m presently in the Dollard-Des-Ormeaux library with three books on Mandarin. But you want to know what the great irony is?

The best book I found here for learning Mandarin is *wait for it*





My first reaction: WHAT IS THIS.

My second reaction *after recovering from my initial anger/shock/surprise/laughter*: Well, at least it’ll help both my French and my Mandarin~

Isn’t there something that says that it’s helpful to learn a new language in something not your mother tongue? Maybe? Eh, well, I’ll tell myself that it’s a good thing. I was planning to work on my French anyway, so…

I’ll keep everyone updated on my preparations for Beijing! I hope to eventually also write about the air pollution there. It’s actually the thing I’m most worried about…

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for more posts about my upcoming adventure abroad!


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