Friday, March 6, 2015

Looking Back/Forward

The HNC admissions office has been closed the last two days due to snowy conditions in Washington, but our students in Nanjing have been busy with the first week of the spring semester. HNC student Nanfei Yan reflects on last semester and looks ahead to the spring:

Hello All,

Long time no see! As some of you may know, the HNC has just returned from a long winter break following the fall semester. First of all, Happy New Year - the Year of the Sheep! 天天开心“喜羊羊”,事事如意“美羊羊”。This post talks about some of the highlights from the past semester, as well as what some of our students did over the winter break.

As the first semester for the Certificate and 1st year MAIS students, the fall semester was an
Student-Teacher Ping Pong Tournament Semi-Finalists
introduction to an immersion of US-China language, culture, and lifestyle. One example of this would be the student-teacher ping pong tournament held during the Christmas season. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese students showcased killer serves, sharp spins, and a natural instinct for the game (congratulations to Du Yufan for taking 1st place!) However, the semi-finalist international students did not disappoint. Dennis Hong effortlessly transported his varsity tennis skills to the table and Louis Binswanger possessed both speed and precision.

(I placed a respectable 5th place - counting from the bottom - in case you were wondering)

If there is anything that remains consistent across cultures and national borders, it is the

stress of finals week. For the week of finals following Christmas, the usual late-night orders
of McDonalds and dumplings increased exponentially. From the position of 2nd semester students, we all celebrate the fact that finals week has all but become a distant memory (a memory, we shall relive in approximately 3 months). 

New Year's Eve Talent Show
Moving on to the break! As usual, HNC covered the vast majority of the classical four continents and seven seas. A typical travel story goes, “I started in HK and Taiwan, but then made my way down south to Cambodia and Myanmar. We had an HNC meet-up in Thailand.” Similar gatherings took place in China, as well, in Shenyang, Shanghai, and Beijing. Perhaps the beauty of an international institution is the desire to connect all around the world.

Of course, the break is never just about fun and travel. HNC students took the 6-week opportunity to wear a variety of hats. Chase Stewart volunteered as an English teacher in a Tibetan monastery (read more about his experience at the SAIS Observer). Many Chinese students also participated in internships during the break, as China is accustomed to both short-term and long-term internship programs. Sun Jiwei interned at the Shanghai branch of a trading company, and Yang Haiyan found an internship conveniently located right in Nanjing.

Looking towards the spring semester, the Co-Directors of HNC held a general meeting this past Wednesday. We voted in a new class committee, who have promised exciting new additions to life at the Center. Among these are a running group, a Chinese-English movie interest group, and a group focused on practicing public speaking in both native and target languages. As for me, I am currently lobbying for the addition of a boxing bag to our gym facilities. Here’s to a great spring semester!