Photos by Fiachra MacFadden, (Colorado College) Student Correspondent CET Beijing: Intensive Language, Summer 2018 On our second day of orientation a few of us decided to go out with our roommates in search of an affordable gym membership (the school gym isn’t that great). What started as a simple mission ended up being several hours of us exploring the surrounding areas of Capital Normal University. After getting quite distracted shopping, getting gym memberships, and just exploring, we realized that we had strayed quite a ways away from CET and it would be a long walk to get back! “Don’t worry” (bié dān xīn) said one of our roommates as he pulled out his phone and scanned a QR code on one of the many bikes along the street. These bikes are called ofo bikes and are popping up in cities across East and Southeast Asia. This is a photo of a few of us cycling them back to Capital Normal University! Every Friday, CET treats the entire class to lunch at a restaurant of our teacher’s choosing. Of course, if us students have a preference of where we would like to go, the teachers are more than happy to consider it too! This photo is of our first Friday lunch together. That was a few weeks ago, and since then we have gone to several different restaurants. What is quite enjoyable about going to these restaurants is the fact that we are no longer in a classroom environment, so we can attempt to speak to our teachers about other topics in Chinese, inquire about the name of certain dishes, and build up the confidence to order food and pay the bill in Chinese without the assistance of any teachers. A selfie with my roommate in front of an old steam train (JF1 2023) at Linglong Park. My roommate has been incredibly patient with me as I’ve slowly worked my way through Chinese sentences, explanations, and questions over the last few weeks. I look forward to exploring more of Beijing with him in the coming weeks! On an orientation ‘scavenger hunt’ with our roommates. This photo is also taken at the beautiful Linglong Park. Many people come here to walk around, do tai chi, run, or just sit down and enjoy the tranquility. On the first day of our classes, we had to take a language pledge. This pledge states that we are not to speak any English throughout this course. There are some exceptions, of course, like emergencies, or if we are talking to family in our rooms. But since taking the pledge, I have not heard English in any hallways, any classrooms, in the cafeteria, or anywhere on campus really (I may occasionally overhear a few words of English from various tourists on the train). For the pledge, we must put our left hand down on a Chinese dictionary and read out the official pledge in Mandarin. It essentially states “I will not speak any other languages other than Chinese.” I have been blown away by the classes at CET. Every evening we are given about 30-40 characters to memorize (yes, it is a lot, but you will find techniques to memorize quickly), and we read through the chapter for the next day’s lesson. In that lesson, we do not even open the book. The entire lesson is just slowly going through what we had read the night before by using pictures as prompts, using the whiteboard to reiterate sentence structure, and by having basic conversations using new vocab. This picture is a good representation of what a typical class might look like. CET offers a range of extracurricular activities to participate in. I signed up for the Chinese traditional painting activity and have really enjoyed it so far. This is a picture of me (in the middle) with two of my classmates beside me. Unfortunately, I was not too pleased with the end result of my painting, but this was just the first lesson, so hopefully in several weeks and I can report back with pictures of better paintings! This is one of the main roads inside Capital Normal University. I walk through this road every day to get to classes, to go to the cafeteria, or to get off campus. The high trees are absolutely beautiful and provide much needed shade on a stiflingly hot day! Since I’ve come to Beijing, the sunsets have been absolutely gorgeous. This is a photo taken from my room of a beautiful purple sky that emerged after a very rainy day.