Our group composed of almost 50 MUIC students studying the Chinese language at the Humanities and Language Division, accompanied by two Chinese language instructors, Ajarn Prateep Wongverayut and Ajarn Zhang Bo, went to Nanjing University from July 28 to August 31, 2018.
The language courses offered there were appropriate for our levels of knowledge and the period of time. For students who take Chinese minor classes, we were able to get the chance to study both writing and speaking. Although in the speaking class, we might not have gotten the opportunity to practice speaking as much as we expected, we nonetheless were able to learn more vocabularies and idioms and get acquainted with Chinese culture through conversations which proved to be beneficial during our stay in Nanjing. Both our teachers in speaking and writing classes were very attentive to students. Even though sometimes they spoke too fast, they tried their best to make us understand.
Aside from studying, the teachers also arranged many activities for us. One of those activities included playing games with Korean students from another class. The activity allowed us to have more fun as well as have an opportunity to interact with others by using Mandarin. Moreover, the teachers also took us on field trips: Once to Lao Men Dong, one of the city’s urban restoration projects that featured historical buildings, tea houses, book shops and many more. There was also a trip to Purple Mountain and Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the tomb of the Hongwu emperor. By going on these field trips, we were able to experience the local lifestyle, appreciate nature and learn more about Nanjing’s history.
In terms of life in campus, Nanjing University has a large campus area with a lot of trees. The campus is also located near subway stations, making it convenient to travel around and explore the city. There are also a lot of shops, restaurants and convenience stores around the campus so it was easy for us to try new food and buy daily necessities.
Nanjing residents were also very kind and friendly to us. Compared to people in the northern region of China such as Beijing, they seem to be more willing to talk to and help us when in need. Many times when we went to convenience stores or local vendors and we used the wrong words, they helped us by telling us the right words and taught us how to say them properly. These kinds of environment and surroundings are important for language learning since we get more opportunities to practice our language outside the classroom.
Apart from that, Nanjing has a long and interesting history, and there are many tourist attractions allowing us to learn about its history, for example, the Nanjing Museum, the City Wall and the Memorial of Nanjing Massacre. It is noteworthy to learn about the history of a certain place since it will allow us to understand and be more familiar with its culture and people.
Overall, we had a great time in Nanjing. Besides studying language, we were also able to explore the city, culture and people, as well as encounter many new and wonderful things. Nanjing gave us a lot of memorable experiences which we will never forget.
This article was written by Ms. Pemika Petchratanaporn, ICCU Major (ID no. 5880076).