New Semester At Sun Yat-Sen University

New semester has started at Sun Yat-Sen University. During my previous three semesters here I have received the Excellent Student Award (being best at my class, grades 80+) two times and once I got a Didn’t-Skip-Classes Award (or something like that, for someone who skipped a very very few classes and grades were 70+).

So I have a lot to prove this semester! Lets take a look what kind of courses I’m having this semester.

Compulsory courses


As always, there is the Comprehensive Chinese course which includes vocab, grammar, reading and writing. We changed to a new book series for this course and are now using Road To Success Advanced. It’s very different from the last book series we used the previous three semesters. New book is a welcomed change, but unfortunately our teacher is a tiny bit dry. We had such a great and entertaining teacher last semester, that I can’t help but to feel bit disappointed. My biggest challenge have always been how to be motivated when studying boring material, any tips?


Computer class! During this class we will learn how to use Word, Power Point and Excel in Chinese. I’m not sure how much I will learn during this class as I know how to use those quite well already. But it’s a good idea to get used to the Chinese interface. This course should help us write our thesis and make Power Point Presentations, or PPTs, if we work as a teacher some day. The teacher is young and energetic, so that makes this course better.


Error Analysis is a course that will help us to teach our students and correct their mistakes and errors. Hopefully it will also help me to correct some of my own errors as well. During this course we will need material to analyse, which will be a bit challenging for me. There aren’t so many Finns around here whose Chinese I could analyse, but I hope to find at least one or two. Or find more online. Teacher is young, but seems to know very well what she is doing. I think this will be a good course.


Educational Psychology will be one of the best courses this semester, at least that’s how I feel like just after first class with the teacher. We will learn how students learn the best and how a teacher uses this information in order to help the students. I’ve always been interested in learning methods, strategies and such, so I’m really looking forward what we will learn during this course. This teacher taught us last semester as well and she’s great.


Thesis writing! Of course we need a course to teach us how to write a thesis and this course is all about it. We will learn everything from how to choose a topic to the layout of the paper it self. One important task this semester is to choose a teacher to guide you with your thesis. The best teachers get chosen really quickly so I want to make my decision fast. I don’t want to end up with a young teacher without any experience. The teacher of this course is quite excellent, perhaps I should ask her.


And then there is the Taiji, compulsory course  for us degree students. I feel so lucky that I don’t have to use my head and think what to do on Friday evening as I have Taiji classes then! What a relief! (Or not…) There isn’t anything wrong with Taiji, I actually like it, but not in this setting. Not when there are 50 students and all of us just want to pass the stupid thing.

Selective courses


Read aloud and correct pronunciation is the name of this course, just what I need! We will prepare texts at home to read to the teacher and she will correct us, that’s the basic pattern for this course. I hope to improve my tones and some tricky pronunciation point that I still haven’t got right (z c zh ch). This teacher was really strict when she was my Comprehensive Chinese teacher a year ago and I expect her to keep it like that.


This might be the most fun course of the semester! On this course to Chinese Popular Customs our teacher will introduce as to interesting places in Guangzhou related to different popular customs on the area. We will then visit them our selves taking notes and photographing the visit. After that we will present our finding to the class. What a great idea for a course!


Chinese philosophy is taught by one of my favourite teachers, our Comprehensive Chinese teacher from last semester. I probably don’t do the exam on this course but just because of the teacher I’m willing to take the classes. I’m sure it will be entertaining and interesting at the same time.

That’s it!

So these are my courses this semester. During this semester we will decide our thesis topics, find a guiding teacher and finally write a 开题报告, Chosen Topic Report, or something like that to finalize our topic choose. Next Summer and Autumn will be all about writing the thesis of about 6000 characters, there’s a lot to learn before that!