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Post written by TA, Wanghaixin Peng '16:

It seems like the NMH students have recently become celebrities! Pictures of the students on the China Immersion Program are found on several local newspapers after their visit in Jiyuan. 
The first four days of this week have been intense for the students because their final was coming on Thursday. In the morning, the students did oral practice in small groups and then individually practiced with our teachers or teacher assistant. 

On Monday, a special class was given by a SIAS professor on Chinese tea. The students were taught about several kinds of Chinese tea and the distinctive qualities of each kind. 

On Tuesday, SIAS students came to study hall and held a speaking session to help our NMH students with speaking and writing. Our students remained highly productive throughout the study hall. Most of them found talking with SIAS students very helpful and they also felt much more prepared for the final after the session.
On Wednesday, the students had their “reading day” and on Thursday morning at 11:30 they were finally done with their tests! Following was their graduation ceremony in which each student was given a certificate as an acknowledgment and appreciation of their hard work in the past twenty days. Pictures were taken at this moment of remembrance and happiness.
There is only a week left until the end of our month-long trip. Our students have moved from a state of confusion when they first arrived to open-mindedness, eagerly absorbing new knowledge and new concepts for their own benefit in learning the language and knowing the culture. Here are some more reflections by the students.

Anastasia Narizhnaya: “The trip has not only fulfilled my expectations but also surpassed them. The opportunity that it provided to learn and experience Chinese culture, language and tradition is enormous. We spent a good amount of time in classroom, getting knowledge from various different teachers and college students. In addition to that, we were able to see and practice what we’ve been learning, whether bargaining on the streets or making an order in a restaurant. The trip made it possible for me to enormously improve my skills in Chinese and to expand my vocabulary.”

Simon Van Baaren: “These past few days have been unlike anything I could have expected. When I envisioned China before coming here, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I imagined it couldn’t be that much different from American culture in city areas, and simply the only known difference to me was the abundant street vendors. However, after spending time in and amongst the life of a Chinese student, I have learned the more intricate details. Family and friendship circles are really strong, evidenced by how a family sits together and friends are welcome over at any time of night. What’s more, guests like me are incorporated as easily as old friends into the circle. The student life is more strict than I imagined it would be, leaving the kids little free time due to intense studying periods. However, such a system is designed with good intentions, pushing kids to achieve higher standards."

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