Startalk: First Week Learning Chinese {June 26th – June 30th, 2017}

你好!我的中文名字是吳敏娜。我的英文名字是Emma。我喜歡學中文和韓文。我喜歡看電影和自拍。我住在伊利諾州。伊利諾州很漂亮。 我是美國人。我會說英文和西班牙文。我會說一點點韓文和中文。我十七歲。再見!~

The sentences above are my attempt at an introduction in Chinese/me trying to use the Chinese I learned in class. We have not really learned Chinese characters in class yet, but I have been learning the characters for our vocab words on my own, so that is why I was able to type up this short introduction. (Are their mistakes? Please comment what I can do to fix/improve my Chinese! 謝謝~)Actually, I officially used the Chinese keyboard on my laptop for the first time for this blog post. (It took me a good five minutes to remember how to add a keyboard to my laptop.)

First Day {June 26th, 2017}

  • As nerdy as it sounds, I could not sleep the night before the first day of Startalk classes. I was so excited to learn Chinese! I woke up and hour earlier than I was supposed to because the stupid birds outside my window woke me up, and I was too excited knowing what was to come that day. Therefore, I could not fall back asleep. My friend from my high school, Becca, drove us to Lewis University and we ended up being early by an entire 30 minutes. When we got to the correct parking lot, we met up with one of the college students who showed us the way to our Chinese classes. Becca and I were in different classes, so we dispersed once we got into the building. (I was in Section 1 and she was in Section 2.) I walked into the class and my teacher and TA immediately exclaimed: “你好!” It hit me at that moment that I was going to be in this classroom for the next four weeks learning Chinese.
ST 20

Driving to Chinese Class!~

We spent the beginning of the day at an orientation learning all about the program, its expectations, and how the grading/college credit will work. We also were taught basic classroom directions and gestures to go along with them (these gestures would be associated with these phrases to help us learn them) such as “please raise your hand” and “repeat after me.” We watched some introductory videos of our Chinese teachers and Teacher Assistants. My teacher and TA seemed really nice. My teacher is American, but he has lived in China for long periods of time, so his Chinese is definitely close to if not fluent. My TA was a student at Lewis University (not anymore because he was transferring), and he was born in Hong Kong. I hope to learn a lot from the both of them!

After orientation, we began learning Chinese! We learned greetings and basic classroom expressions (only pinyin though) in order to not be completely clueless during our class. My teacher did not speak English the entire day until the very end. Whenever we did not understand, we would look at our TA and he would translate the teachers Chinese to English. I think that was the right way to start the class. In Korea, English was rarely ever used and that honestly does help with language immersion.

We had lunch at the university, and then afterward, we were given a tour of the campus by one of the students helping out the Foreign language department. (It was not too in depth which was quite alright because Becca and I are going to arrive early every single day to just walk around before class starts.)

ST Lunch 1.jpg

Lunch at the Cafeteria

And that was my first day at Startalk Chinese Classes! It was a lot of fun and I am hyped for the rest of the program. I know learning Chinese will be difficult but I will put in lots of hard work in order to make the best of this program!~

Second & Third Day (6/27 – 6/28/17)

  • We listened to a lecture from the director on the four different types of tones in Chinese and learned how to ask and give names, polite expressions, numbers, phone numbers, and more greetings and class commands.

Fourth & Fifth Day (6/29 – 6/30/17)

  • Becca and I were in such a good mood these days, therefore we were having a lot of fun walking around campus, taking photos, and practicing our Chinese together before the class started.
  • We picked up speed with Chinese learning these couple of days because we would be having a long four-day break over the fourth of July weekend. We learned about hobbies, age, how to answer the question “Where do you live?”, descriptive words for places, nationalities, and languages. We did a lot of group activities that involved getting up and talking with everyone in order to practice everything we were taught. We also played lots of group games and individual games (my competitive self definitely enjoyed these games for sure) and we were given Chinese snacks if we won!

    One of the best things we have done during this program was Calligraphy on Thursday! Now, I have realized that I will NEVER be a calligraphy master XD but nonetheless, calligraphy was really fun as I had never done it before! We learned how to hold the pen and one of the most common strokes. I tried my best!

    And that was my first-week taking Chinese classes with Startalk!~ I am excited about the four-day break because I have done so much homework this past week. But… I honestly can not wait to get back and learn more Chinese. I hope we start learning characters next week ( though I kinda already started on that XD ) Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. Do not forget to subscribe to my blog. 謝謝!~

P.S In case, anyone is wondering. The name of my program is “A trip to Taipei” therefore we are learning a lot about Taiwan through documentaries and we even practice culturally appropriate classroom rules such as how we start and end our classes (with a classroom monitor, bowing, etc) We are learning Traditional Chinese. This Chinese is used in countries like Taiwan and Singapore while Simplified is used in mainland China. That is all for this Authors note~ 再見!!

- Emma 엠마 敏娜 (Now I have three names… haha)

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