7:45 AM on July 3.
Surprisingly, the jet-lag didn’t seem to really bother the students. After one night of good sleep, students were almost recovered from the international travel fatigue. They all gathered at the lobby in the No.2 International Students Dormitory and walked to the Student Cafeteria on the opposite side of the Dorm to have breakfast. The Student Cafeteria is a three-story building providing all kinds of dining services for students. They had the breakfast in the dining hall on the second floor. Many traditional Chinese breakfast items were served including steamed buns (包子, bao zi), scallion cakes (葱油饼, cong you bing), steamed sponge cakes (发糕, fa gao)、fried bread sticks (油条, you tiao), fried sweet rice cakes (炸年糕, zha nian gao)、rice gruel (稀饭, xi fan) and eggs (鸡蛋, ji dan). The chefs at ECNU asked for students’ feedback and would make changes based on their preferences for food. They enjoyed the breakfast. It was also fun to learn how to say the breakfast items in Chinese.
It was the ECNU’s On Site Orientation. Dr. Yongyi Wu, Dean of the College of Teaching Chinese as Second Language and Mrs. Meixu Huang, Director of the International Exchange Office on the orientation welcomed the students to ECNU. Ms. Lu Zhang introduced the City of Shanghai and ECNU in details. Students learned more about Shanghai, a growing economic and financial center in Asia and the world, as well as East China Normal University after the orientation.
It was the first Chinese class for students. Based on their levels of Chinese, students were divided into three different classes. The relatively small size of class with ten students in each makes it possible for the students to get more individual attention from the teachers and more chances to practice Chinese. Our Chinese teachers were very surprised to find that students were able to comprehend their instructions even though they taught completely in Chinese. Students gained more confidence as they realized that they’ve got off a very good start.
Lunch time! Students had the lunch in a nearby Korean restaurant on campus. Korean cuisine is similar to its Chinese counterpart but has its own unique characteristics. All dishes were very small but made exquisitely and tasted very good. Teachers always asked for students’ feedback for meals. Students all enjoyed the Chinese food yesterday. But it seemed that Korean food tasted much better today.
It was Dr. Chen’s Chinese culture class. He introduced Chinese geography, population and history. Students asked many questions. It was an interesting yet inspiring experience that students got the chance to observe, learn and discuss China while in China.
Student got back to the Dorm building after the culture class and started the first tutoring session in the lobby and the multipurpose room on the first floor. They were able to meet with local Chinese people to practice the language.
It’s buddy time! Students were paired up with their “buddies” from ECNU and toured the campus again. They talked in Chinese, went shopping in the grocery store and stopped by the bank for more cashes. Students all felt more confident when speaking Chinese in public places with the companion of their “buddies”.
It’s dinner time and Chinese food again. Totally different dishes were served. When asked whether they liked the food or not, students all felt good about it. It rarely occurred to them that Chinese food are cooked in so many differently ways and food play such an important role in Chinese people’s daily lives. Getting to personally experience something new and different just felt so amazing!