StarTalk: Third Week of Chinese Classes {July 10th – July 14th, 2017}

你好!The third week of StarTalk Chinese classes was super fun but also super stressful. This was because we had our field trip to China Town and our Chinese midterms all during one week!

We still learned a lot of Chinese this week. Our teacher did not let us slack off just because we had a field trip and that we needed to study for our midterm. This week, we focused on family vocabulary, common Taiwanese foods, and adjectives to describe places.

We also got to practice more calligraphy. Calligraphy and I truly have a love-hate relationship. I am not good at it, but I really want to be. It is honestly a struggle.

China Town (7/12/17)

  • In the morning, both Chinese classes met up at the library in order to wait for the bus that would take us to Chicago. We did not start the day off with really good luck because our bus was 45 minutes late and it started seriously storming while we made our way to China Town.

We were supposed to do a scavenger hunt as soon as we got to China Town but because it was raining and we had lost a lot of time due to our ride being late, our teachers and the director allowed us to just walk around for a little bit before it was time to eat. The scavenger hunt then became extra credit, and because mt group was very extra (haha word play) we completed the task! (We just had to take photos of storefronts on our list and take photos of signs where we could recognize some characters.)

Then, it was finally time to eat! (Honestly, the part of the trip we were most looking forward to!) We ate orange chicken, duck, white & fried rice, dumplings, steamed buns, eggplant, fried noodles, tofu, etc.

After lunch, we were all treated to drinks from JoyYee. I had milk tea with tapioca pearls and I was in love! Bubble tea (or Boba tea) is my favorite thing to drink. I had not had it since Korea and boy… did I miss it!

After lunch & drinks, we were given an hour to just walk around China Town and do whatever we wanted until the bus arrived to take us back to Lewis. This part of the trip did not treat my wallet very well XD

Midterms (7/13/17)

  • One of the scariest words in the English vocabulary: Midterms. Our midterms were split into two parts; we had to take a reading test and a speaking interview. The reading test was composed of one side being sentences in Pinyin that we had to translate to English while the other side had sentences in Chinese characters. The speaking interview was with the director in which she would be asking us lots of questions and then, at the end, we would have to ask her questions like we were getting to know a host sibling. With my amazing luck (note the sarcasm), I had to do the interview first. Fortunately, my midterms went great! Aced both of them!~

And that was my third week of Chinese classes at Lewis! It has been very fun and I have gotten even closer with all of my classmates. Honestly, it is going to be very hard for me to have to say goodbye to everyone! Good thing we all do not live too far from each other! Thanks for reading~ Don’t forget to subscribe!~ ^^ 再見!

  • Emma 엠마 敏娜

NSLI-Y Outreach: NSHSS College/Career Fair at The University of Chicago

This weekend (09/09/17), I had the opportunity to conduct outreach for the NSLI-Y program at The University of Chicago. We needed one more alum other than me to come, so I went to the Great Lakes – Chicago NSLI-Y Alumni Facebook page and asked around for any volunteers. (Author’s note: Attention all NSLI-Y Alumni! Make sure to join your region’s (if applicable) Facebook page! Us alumni representatives will often post about opportunities there!) Michaela, an awesome China Summer 2015 alumna, joined me for the event.

For this event, Michaela and I were at a “college fair” for NSHSS (National Society of High School Scholars) members. We were at the U.S. Department of State’s table and our job was to talk about the fully funded cultural exchanges, hosting opportunities, and our experience with NSLI-Y. The rest of the tables were for universities (mostly in IL/the Midwest region), but there was also a table for the CIA. It was just us and the DIR (Diplomat in Residence) for the Midwest: Melissa Martinez.

I arrived at the right hall at UChicago about an hour early, so I walked around campus for awhile. The campus is so pretty! I could not resist taking photos of all the old buildings. Its architecture is my aesthetic.

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After my own little “tour” of the campus, I went to the room for the college fair and besides the UChicago reps that were present, I was still the first one there.

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The University of Chicago prepared goodie bags for all of us; they included water, a Toblerone, and some hand sanitizer.

Eventually, Melissa showed up, and we began to set up the table with a U.S. Department of State tablecloth, tons of brochures, pens, and post it notes. Looking around at all the other tables for the colleges, I realized that table setting is truly an art.

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good work shall I say

After setting up, Melissa left to go present to the NSHSS members. While she was gone, I met Michaela for the first time. For about an hour, we talked about a variety of things: our NSLI-Y experiences, other alumni opportunities we have done, learning languages, China Town, Gentrification, College, etc.

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Michaela ❤

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Me! Did I mention we got name tags? I am wearing mine with my NSLI-Y lanyard I received from my PDO!

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Michaela and I standing in front of our lovely table~ (We had to get a picture before the students came in. Once they did, we had no breaks for photos XD)

The fair lasted around 2 hours, and I talked more than I normally would at a speech competition! That is saying a lot!

During the two hours, Michaela and I spoke with students that were interested in studying abroad. We also talked to parents about how they can host international students (selling point: once they go off to college, there will be an extra room in the house XD)

It was honestly very heartwarming to meet so many students that had an interest not only in cultures and languages, but also careers in foreign policy/with the U.S. Department of State. I hope a good amount of students we talked to will apply this application season.

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A funny part of the fair was the fact that many parents thought I was working for the Department of State. They would ask me what I did, and I would then tell them that I was currently only a senior in high school, but that hopefully, I would be there in the future XD Honestly, I do not look old at all. In fact, I think I look younger than most people my age. It must have been my blazer. It must have made me look professional!

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Me with Melissa Martinez (Midwest DIR) and Michaela

And that was my take on the outreach event I did this September! It was quite a lot of fun, and I am glad I received the opportunity to do so. The NSLI-Y Alumni Association is such an amazing network of people and I am so thankful to be a part of it!

Thank you for reading~ If you enjoyed, please subscribe to my blog! 再見!

Startalk: Second Week of Chinese Classes { July 5th – July 7th, 2017}

你好!~ So this week of Startalk was shorter than normal because we had July 3rd and July 4th off. I really enjoyed the break and did something fun every single day to really make the most of the time I had without classes and homework.

We reviewed everything we had learned the past week on Wednesday and Thursday in order to make sure that we did not forget anything over the break and that we truly had these things in our long term memory. We also got our first taste of characters. We learned the characters for several popular Taiwanese foods and practiced writing them with the correct stroke order. I tried very hard but my copies of the examples were not good looking at all XD On Friday, we learned the characters and pinyin for family vocab. We spent time studying the stroke order for each and every character. We played some competitive games with all the groups to see who could write the characters the fastest with the correct stroke order by working as a team (it also had to be legible XD)

This week we were also introduced to task activities. On certain days we would be moved to a separate room filled with several different tasks all surrounding different aspects of learning Chinese. There was a task that involved writing characters, creating a Chinese menu, listening to Chinese music, creating a poster for a Taiwanese celebrity, calligraphy, creating a picture book with common radicals, a conversation station, and researching locations of interest in Taiwan. We have to do one every day and if we can get more done, we get extra credit!

Overall, this week has been my favorite because of the fact that all my classmates are becoming more comfortable with speaking Chinese and putting themselves out there (this is something that I already had the opportunity to do through NSLI-Y), and that my classmates and I are also getting more comfortable with my teacher and TA. Also, I have been wanting to learn characters since the beginning so I could not be more excited when we began to use them in class. Since the first week, I had been memorizing and learning the characters of our vocab words (which was optional) as well as the pinyin that we studied in class ~ I can not wait to learn more characters next week!!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any questions, please comment below~ Do not forget to subscribe. 謝謝!再見!~

- Emma 敏娜 엠마