Monday, December 3, 2012

New Home for the Holidays

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sends an update from Nanjing following the week-long fall break which coincided with the American Thanksgiving holiday:

HNC students bake holiday cookies in 2011
"The Thanksgiving (Autumn) Break is now over and there seems like a long haul until the end of the semester, which ends in the second week of January. As for Thanksgiving, though, there are a couple different places to go to get a decent holiday meal, albeit, they are in Shanghai and Beijing :-) Our local import grocery store sells turkeys in Nanjing and it’s possible to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, which one of the students in the Center did! The upside is that they also sell legitimate ingredients to make pumpkin pie, without which this season would not be complete!

It’s nice to have a small break to get a change of scenery as the weather gets colder. No matter what, we all feel a bit more refreshed going into the final weeks of the term after having a week to recoup from our academic obligations.

Although it’s pretty hard being away from all the holiday cheer in America in these weeks before the end of the year, it’s nice that there are friends here to help plan holiday get togethers and get in the holiday mood. Activities planned during this time of year include Secret Santa and decorating the lounge. It’s nice to hear Christmas music and it’s a time of year that we truly feel connected to one another since very few of us can be with our families.

Since the work picks up during this time of year, it’s an opportunity to see just how much progress we’ve made. At this point, we’ve been here three months and we’ve managed to stay afloat doing graduate school in Chinese! Sometimes, I can’t believe I’ve been here this long. Only a few more weeks until we’re halfway through the year and we get to enjoy some great travel time for our Spring Festival Break which is 5 weeks long!

Can’t wait!" 

HNC students participate in Secret Santa, Christmas morning 2009