Monday, October 19

The First Snow of Harbin

It is currently snowing in Harbin. At least the bare minimum of what passes for snow. More like a rainy-snowy mess of weather. But I think it is fair to say that winter is quickly approaching. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the weather report is calling for 60 degrees on Saturday and Sunday so it seems like the weather might be milder here than it is in the Northeast US. Or maybe just schizophrenic...

Sunday, October 18

'Force-feeding Duck Style' Teaching Method

In my second year and second semester of Chinese at Georgetown we learned a vocabulary word meaning 'force-feeding duck style', the teaching method that defines China's educational system. The lesson text consisted of critiques on both China and the United States educational system, but we just passed it off as another one of China's, and our textbook's, quirks. However, now that I've come to China I've been able to experience a little bit of that 有中国特色的教育体制, educational system with Chinese characteristics. The work load and demands of the teachers are high and the expectation is to stuff vocabulary and grammar points and dialogues down our throats so that when they stick a piece of paper in front of us we can regurgitate all of that information back up onto that sheet.

The point of this blog post, however, is not to write my own scathing critique of this method but rather to bring to attention that this force-feeding has made me very full. The only thing that keeps me going as I prepare for my midterms, which includes a presentation of an essay followed by answering questions (kinda like a super mini Chinese-language thesis), is the thought that once I throw all of this knowledge up that's that. It's an unfortunate part of education in China in that they don't encourage any long term use or practical application of the things you learn while in school, but at this point my main goal is to keep my sanity, hopefully through lots of dove chocolate and cap'n crunch therapy (thanks mom!). So for now, see you on the other side, or maybe whenever I just get frustrated with studying.

Wednesday, October 14

Back from Hiatus

After a trip to the Chinese-North Korean border, a two week vacation due to the 60th Anniversary of the PRC/Mid-Autumn Festival/Preventing-the-Spread-of-Swine-Flu Measures, and after getting fed up with free proxies not working buying a VPN (Strong VPN has saved my Chinese internet experience), I'm back to blogging.

Unfortunately a 60th Anniversary/Mid-Autumn Festival/Swine Flu 2 week vacation/cancellation of classes isn't the most inspired time for blogging and next week I have midterms so my time is also somewhat limited. But I plan to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging as soon as my regularly scheduled life resumes.

We did take a trip to Lafashan (Lafa Mountain) and Hongyegu (Red Leaf Valley) over the weekend so I'll attach some pictures from that.

The Chinese guy who tried to kidnap me at Lafashan. No, I'm not kidding. And might I add that this picture severely over-represents his height.

View from the top of Lafashan (which took us about 3 1/2 hours to climb, might I add)

Red-leafed Tree in the Red Leaf Valley

Jarrett and I (check out Jarrett's Blog!!!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails