Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chinese New Year Break Adventures

At the HNC, our semester break typically starts in mid January. This year, we had a 5-week break, which allowed for a lot of rest and adventure. The end of the semester was filled with writing papers, studying for exams, preparing for presentations and making travel plans. Some planned group and solo trips to Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and Europe. Others planned to go back home to America, the U.K. and South Korea. Some students chose to stay in the Mainland to celebrate Chinese New Year with friends and family. A few students were lucky to land internships in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Winter Break with HNC Chinese and Non-Chinese students! John visited the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Sun Island Harbin and stood at the top of Victoria Peak overlooking Hong Kong (Left). Rui Yang went fishing in Maldives, visited the coast of Galle, Sri Lanka and traveled to universal studios in Singapore with her parents (Right).
After my final exams, I traveled to Suzhou to visit my Chinese host family from the Chinese language immersion program that I participated in during last summer. While staying with them, we visited the Suzhou museum and Yangcheng Lake. It was great exploring the scenic sights of Suzhou with 阿姨,奶奶,叔叔 and 妹妹 again. On the morning of my flight, I took the train and subway to Shanghai Pudong and flew to England. I arrived in Cambridge, England the next evening and found surroundings that were completely different from the tall buildings, large roads and multitudes of people in Nanjing. Although I went through a couple days of “reverse” culture shock, I found comfort in listening to the numerous Chinese tourists on the streets of Cambridge. I was worried I would lose some of the language gain in a non-Chinese speaking environment so every week I spoke Chinese to at least one native speaker and watched Chinese TV-shows.

I also searched for post-graduate opportunities and found think tank internships, service programs and foreign affairs related jobs. Throughout my stay in the England, I took part in interviews via Skype and email for a few positions. While exploring London and Manchester, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast the Chinese and American cultural influence on the country. It showed me that the world is connected more than I think and taking opportunities to see it is worth the time and savings. 

Classes have recently started and I have yet to hear everyone’s amazing adventures! Some students are still dealing with jet lag, while others have adjusted quickly. The transition back to life at the HNC has been enjoyable as we’ve been happy to see those  we met and bonded with last semester. We’re all slipping back into our Chinese/English target language, trying out new courses, preparing for summer opportunities and thinking about what the new semester holds.

Winter Break with HNC Chinese and Non-Chinese students! Caroline visited Hong Kong with Eli, celebrated her Grandma’s birthday in the US and went Kayaking in Florida (Top left). Tao Ran invited his roommate Levi for Chunjie celebration in his hometown (Top right). I traveled around London (Bottom Left). Nathan and Robert visited Japan and Thailand (Bottom Right).
Written by Tarela Osuobeni, HNC Certificate ‘17