08/12/15

Writing a Research Plan in Chinese

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Now that my bachelor’s thesis seems like a faded memory, it’s time to start my master’s thesis! I’ve finished my fist year of graduate school and all of my courses expect thesis writing that will begin next week. Of course I’m being optimistic and hope that I have passed all the courses I took!

Back in 2013 I wrote about writing a thesis in Chinese and then defending it in Chinese. For a master’s thesis the process is similar:

  1. Write a research plan (开题报告)
  2. Research plan is evaluated by your teachers (one or two that are supervising your thesis writing) [End of August]
  3. Make  changed if (when) necessary
  4. Present the research plan in front of three teachers who will ask questions and offer valuable feedback (开题报告会) [Mid-September]
  5. If necessary come up with a new topic (if the first one didn’t pass), or make changed to your research plan according to the advice
  6. Write a first draft of the thesis
  7. Send the first draft to your supervising teachers for feedback [Around Chinese New Year 2016]
  8. Write your thesis again according to the feedback, write the final draft
  9. Present and defend your thesis in front of three teachers, pass and get a grade or if unlucky (your supervising teacher didn’t warn you) you get back to the drawing board [Around May 2016]
  10. Make final corrections and print your thesis

Originally the deadline for the final draft is around the Chinese New Year next year, but because I happen to have a baby deadline coming in the beginning of November, I’m planning to get my first draft done before that as well.

Right now I’m in the process of reading research papers and theses around my topic, making notes and papering the theory section of my thesis. Before the end of the month I also need to make an outline for my thesis as well as a schedule how I’m going to finish my thesis in time. Basically I have to write the beginning of my thesis from Introduction to Research methods.

Luckily together with my supervisors I came up with a great topic for my thesis that I’m very excited about. I can use the knowledge I’ve gathered for my graduate courses, the experience from teaching my students and hopefully write something that will help me a lot in the future with my students.

08/4/15

A boy or a girl?

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Second hand baby clothes bought in Finland

Being pregnant is kind of strange feeling, suddenly you have someone poking around in your tummy and you love him or her even though you haven’t really even met yet. Many parents want to find out the gender of the baby before giving birth so that they could start thinking names and the baby would seem more real to them. It’s not an “it” anymore, but a she or he.

In China it’s prohibited to find out the sex of the baby on an ultrasound, because traditionally boys have been favored and girl fetuses even aborted. Xinran has written a heartbreaking book about the lost girls of China in Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother. The traditional views are slowly changing and in bigger cities families have even started to favor baby girls.

But the differences between boys and girls are still seen in my husband’s generation. He as the big brother got often treated differently from his little sister, for example more money was used to his education than to hers. In other matters it can also be seen that his parent’s generation still value the paternal family line when it comes to different assets in the family.

My husband’s sister has a cute baby boy now that the whole family adores. Against tradition her mother took care of her during the one month confinement and continues to do so during her maternity leave. People in the villages have talked how it’s “not right” that a daughter who is already married spends so much time at her parent’s house, but my in-laws enjoy having their grandson next to them. Even though in Chinese he is considered to be an “outside grandson” or 外孙。

Me and my husband think that children should be treated equally no matter the gender or if they belong to the paternal or maternal family line. I’m also more sensitive to not to limit activities or even colors based on gender. In China is much clearer that boys do boy stuff and girls do girl stuff, but I wish that our kid can choose the hobbies she likes without thinking if it’s suitable for a girl.

So yes, because of family connections in a hospital and curious family members we found out that we are most likely having a baby girl. My husband’s family has been guessing it’s a girl since I got pregnant and are very happy of the news. But of course what we hope the most is that she will be healthy.