The Lazy Sunday – Beijing Style

dressing gown
If you are a regular reader of the CSA blog, you will no doubt have seen multiple blogs encouraging noble attributes such as hard work, commitment and mental endurance. Well intentioned as they are, they fail to take into account some of the realities of studying Chinese in China. I like to think I live a very disciplined life, I don’t smoke or drink (much), I’m financially prudent to an extent and usually do all my homework on time. However, I do have one major weakness. What is it I hear you (not) asking? Is it fast cars? Beautiful women? Both? No, it’s much less exciting but equally awesome, it’s the frequent ‘lazy Sunday’ of course.

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3 Things You NEED to Be an Expert Chinese Speaker


RenminRibao collage

Long-gone are the days of endless tonal reviews and jokes about interchanging the words for “horse” and “mom.” You laugh at the sight of pinyin (哈哈哈). Ordering your food and drink has progressed passed the “个Zhege” and “那个Nage” strategies of yester-year. You’re now an upper-intermediate or advanced student, and you are looking to continue inching your way up the ladder to full fluency in Mandarin Chinese.
Three important things are needed for anyone to master this beautifully complex language. And no, we’re not just talking about excelling at 口 or business vocab. We’re talking full-fledged fluency. For those seriously interested in becoming a Chinese language expert, you’ll need the following:

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Getting Around Beijing


 I have the luxury of living beside a rather picturesque mountain in the outskirts of Beijing. I wont lie to you all, its lovely! Not too polluted, very cheap, perfect. Except for one thing, Beijing is a big city, and I live a tad far (11 km) away from my university (BLCU) which I must attend every weekday morning for class. This leaves me with the slight problem of commuting the distance during the famous Beijing rush hour. To help you put my problem into perspective, Beijing has over 20 million people, all of whom seemingly want to get on the exact bus I want to at 0730 on a freezing Monday morning. I am not alone in this probpem though, no matter where you live in Beijing you will at somepoint have a commute on your hands, whether it is to your university, local supermarket, tutors house or just downtown Beijing. The following is my attempt at a transport graduates review of Beijing’s transport network to allow for some little extra planning before coming to China:

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Mandarin Through Immersion


BJ duck

Mandarin through immersion: bringing a language to life

“You know the parts of the body in Chinese really well,” my Chinese qi gong doctor says, as she discusses where qi - or energy - is blocked in my body.

Anyone who’s ever been to China will know that the Chinese are still somewhat incredulous when a foreigner, or laowai as they like to refer to us, can speak their language. The slightest effort, like giving an address in Chinese to a taxi driver, reaps an avalanche of compliments about the level of your Chinese.

But this time, I know I have the body parts mastered! I learned them by repetition - not the sort of agonising rote learning I went through at school learning Latin, French, Spanish and German in the early eighties – no, this vocab was acquired through physical pain. I was not in language class when I learned how to name all the parts of my body, but in yoga class - with a Chinese yogi. That’s when they became forever engrained.

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Ordering Food at your University Canteen


After my first visit to China in a student capacity it soon occurred to me I had a bit of a new problem I had not really experienced in my previous visits as a tourist, how was I to order food by myself?
While I cannot deny that this was somewhat of a problem on my past visits to China as a tourist, I never really strayed too far from English speaking company or touristic zones meaning I could often find English translations or a ‘tourists best friend’ – a restaurant with pictures.

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Physical Examination in China

chinesedoctorThe following is a small excerpt from a book I may or may not be writing:
“A medical check up! Again? I only did one six months ago, can I simply not use that?” I said with some bemusement, with a dash of rising realisation. “No, its no longer valid as you can only use it once,” – came the swift yet damning reply. My crime? I had been home during a study break to see my family as well as get a new visa. My punishment? Another health check-up courtesy of the Chinese government, I sighed in resignation to my impending fate…

Read more: Physical Examination in China

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    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
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    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
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    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
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    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 


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