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Second Semester in China!

Although the weather in Yunnan was warmer and the air cleaner, I was more than excited to be back in Beijing. Beijing and I have quite a special connection; feeling like home since I stepped off the plane. Last semester I made myself at home on the campus of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE对外经济贸易大学) in the International Student dorm. Even though I would be taking new classes with a new group of students, I decided to switch it up for the spring semester and move off campus. I was afraid that I would spend second semester repeating the same routine I had fall semester. Besides, living off campus has many benefits. My homestay family speaks only Chinese so I am forced to speak more Chinese at home which was one of my goals this semester. Also my family’s apartment is about a 20 minute walk northeast of campus, so I get to explore a new part of the city that usually I never did living on campus. Another benefit is that I also get my own room, without paying the extra expense I would have to in a dorm room. I also negate other expenses such as laundry, food, electricity and water by living at a homestay. Most importantly, I feel as if I am a little more focused because I am less likely to procrastinate with other students.

My homestay Sister

Despite living off campus, I still get to see all of my TBC classmates and UIBE friends quite often. After classes, we usually grab food together, hangout in the TBC lounge, or explore Beijing. My classes this semester are both interesting and unique, compared to some of the other classes I have taken at Fairfield. This semester I am enrolled in a class called Traditional Chinese Architecture, in which we study, measure, record, scale, and draw plans for many different buildings. Another class I am taking is called Observing China, a communication course highly recommended by all TBC staff members. For this course, our professor focuses on improving our writing skills by reading. He often says “if you can’t read you can’t write.” This class is held in the Bookworm, a coffee shop/ reading hub in downtown Beijing called Sanlitun. Sanlitun is a well-known area throughout Beijing for its liveliness, nightlife, and foreigner population. All in all, I can say that Spring Semester is off to a great start!

Also published on Fairfield Study Abroad’s blog.