Random Assortment of Links

Useful resources for learning about contemporary China:

 English language Sinica Podcast

James Fallows - not always China-related, but always interesting

What's going on in Beijing:

TimeOut Beijing

The Beijinger

China Daily's Beijing Weekend 

Beijing Weather - Weather Underground


Useful language learning tools

Chinesepod podcast - free beginners' podcasts

Popup Chinese podcast - another very good podcast series

Hacking Chinese - interesting ideas on learning Chinese efficiently

Skritter character-learning tool for iPad/iPhone - really fun app

Sinosplice - John Pasden's site on many interesting aspects of China and the Chinese language



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5/23/12 Last Day

Yesterday was the last day of the program, and it was arguably the best day--certainly one of the best.

In the morning, we got up very early to go visit a Chinese preschool. We were given the chance to observe several classrooms and outdoor play areas with kids from age three to six. I was impressed by the size of the preschool; they have over 700 kids. Here is a cute photo of the kids doing an activity outside:

We came back to the hostel around 10:30, and had a few hours to rest and get lunch before our busy afternoon and evening. Seven of us went back to a restaurant on our hutong that has been a popular choice for us over the last month (it’s my personal favorite). Emily and I also went to the fruit market and bought several pounds of lychees to eat before we leave…I will miss them when we’re back in the US!

A little after 2pm, we headed over to BNU for our afternoon conference. Each of the groups presented their research projects with their Chinese counterparts, and then Xingyu gave a presentation on research that used some data from last year’s Beijing trip.

At 6pm, we went to the campus hotel for a banquet with a number of the BNU students and faculty. We enjoyed a delicious buffet and fun dinner conversations, and then shared gifts with each other. We received hats with the Beijing Normal University logo or text on them, and we gave t-shirts, lanyards, cups, notebooks, and other Michigan “swag” to them. Everyone took photos to commemorate the end of the program, including one large group photo which hopefully someone else will post (I don't have it on my camera). I do have one of Emily and Melissa proudly sporting their hats:

After photos, many of us were not ready to say goodbye, so a number of the Chinese students came back to Red Lantern House with us to see where we were staying and hang out for a little while. We chatted for some time at the main building, and considered starting a card game. While we never got around to cards, we did realize that the American game “BS” has a Chinese equivalent called “Chui Niu” (I hope I got that right…). It was interesting to learn that! We were too busy in conversation to start playing, and then several of the BNU students had to leave.

Three of them (Becky, Yuki, and Lizzy) stayed, and walked over to the East House with Martha and me. We stayed up for another couple of hours talking about differences in American and Chinese culture, particularly college life, and various other things. Another hotel guest from Germany joined our conversation and we chatted for another hour. 

It was an amazing day and night, and this has been an amazing trip. Most of the group left today, and the rest of us leave early tomorrow morning, so this will likely be the last blog post . I would like to post a public thank you to Kevin and Kai for all their hard work in making this trip such a fantastic experience—we are all very grateful for the countless opportunities we’ve had here. Thanks also to Xingyu and Zuowei for all of their help and support throughout the trip.

Thanks for reading—dzai jian!


5/22/12 BNU and Emily's Birthday!

Today we are back at BNU for the day. We came here in time for lunch and ate for a second time at the Korean restaurant on campus. Here's half of our group (we got split up, as we often do, because our group is so large): 

Here is a photo of the incredible eggplant dish that Zina and I shared:

After lunch, we went to the building that houses the psychology department on BNU's campus and found our seminar room. Today is Emily's birthday, and several of us helped to prepare a cake and gifts to celebrate. Here is the birthday girl with one of her presents:

After seminar, we will be having dinner in the campus cafeteria and working on our group presentations with the BNU students. Tomorrow is the last day of the program, and we have a busy day planned visiting a preschool, presenting at the conference, and attending the farewell banquet. 


5/21/12 Spending the day at BNU

Today, we are spending the day at Beijing Normal University working on our group projects for the conference on Wednesday. We came here for lunch, and then had a seminar led by Kevin on Chinese language learning. Pretty soon we will head to the campus cafeteria for dinner, and then afterwards we'll meet up with our BNU counterparts to work more on the projects. 


5/20/12 Free Day and Chinese acrobats 

On May 20th, we had our usual Sunday free time to do what we liked. Most of us went back to the silk market to do the last of our shopping, although some of us also went back to the flea market from last weekend and the Olympic site. We all met up at 6:45 outside the subway station near the Tiandi Theatre to see a performance of Chinese acrobats. It was very cool! Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures in the theatre so we have none to share. However, there are some photos on their website.


5/19/12 Summer Palace

On May 19th we visited the Summer Palace. We were given a meeting time and place and then allowed to go off by ourselves, which ended up being a mixed blessing. We love the opportunity to explore in smaller groups at our own pace and see different things, but many of us got lost in the maze that is the Summer Palace. The map on the back of our ticket did not prove to be very helpful. We spent lots of time climbing up and down and around, but it was fun to try and find our way. Finally, about 40 minutes before we were supposed to meet at a particular temple (and we still had NO idea where it was), we found Kevin and decided to stick to him like glue. He was at a souvenir stand where a man was writing/painting people's names in colorful pictures. We ended up buying a large number from him because we were so fascinated with them. We eventually met up with the rest of the group and then went across the street for a delicious late lunch. Here are photos from the day: