First impressions of autumn semester’s courses

I have now sat on each course of mine atleast once and have some general idea what all the courses are going to be about and how the teachers are. Based on that I decided to make quick “first week review” of my courses this semester at Sun Yat-Sen University.

Like many of you remember, I’m studying Chinese as a Foreign Language undergraduate degree and my specialization is Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.

Compulsory courses


This course will help with our newspaper reading and we  use a textbook called 报刊阅读教程. I know that this course will be boring, challenging and headaching for me, my vocabulary isn’t where it is supposed to be and it’s hard for me to motivate myself to study things that I find boring. I also believe that skills learned through this course will be very useful in HSK exam as the exercises are similar to the HSK reading section.


We have a very interesting teaching on this Spoken Chinese course, his accent is very far from standard! But that’s not really what we are concentrating anymore at this level (even we should do that on our own, practice pronunciation and tones). The teacher is surprisingly good in this course too, humorous, talkative and has a clear plan what we are going to do. Our book 高级汉语口语 includes texts, vocabulary, idioms,  exercises, sentence patterns and group discussion topics.

I think we don’t have induvidually that much speaking time in class, but looks like the course will teach us how to use those different sentence patterns in speech. I might be able to use them in essay writing, but in spoken language I often tend to use very simple language.


Modern Chinese course continues with Chinese Characters and Grammar sections. This course is not for learning to language, but for learning about the language. According to our first homework, it seems that our teacher will often give as assigments to compare our native language to Chinese. During the semester we also have to make 1000 characters long “mini thesis” about comparing a grammatical point in our native language and Chinese. I bet this is going tobe hard, but also excellent practice before the real deal next year! Last time I didn’t get that good grade from Modern Chinese, so this semester I have to work harder!


Last semester’s Spoken Chinese and  Introduction to Linquistics teacher is back and teaches essay writing now for us. Teacher told us that at this level she won’t pay attention to character writing anymore and we can type all of our homeworks. We can even type essays written at class if we bring our own laptops! This semester we will write song, movie and book reviews for example. We also learn how to make survey report which might be helpful for many students when we start writing out bachelor thesis next year.


And of course we sill have our Comprehensive Chinese course that will continue to develop our reading, vocabulary and grammar. The teachers is a very unique person and a very demanding one. The first classes have been way over my head! I really have to use a lot of time to prepare for these classes. I already have a feeling that this course will be one of the hardest ones this semester.


As our specialization is Teaching Chinese on this course we will learn how to prepare useful classroom activities. Based on the first lesson today it looks like we will have quite a lot of homework from this course. The final exam is going to be to write a classroom activity plan. This course does sound quite interesting!


Last semester we learned how to teach different course, this time we will learn how to teach different aspects of Chinese: pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, characters. During this course we also have an assigment to act as a teacher and teach a certain part of a textbook chapter. We can choose if we prefer to teach the pronunciation, vocab etc. section.


Yes, taiji witha sword is a compulsory course for us! (As is normal taiji which i propably take next semester.)We still haven’t got any lessons from this and I just hope to pass it and have that mark on my papers. I’ve learned some normal taiji before, so maybe that could be an advantage?

Selective courses


I’m learning from my mistakes and taking only one selective course this semester! It’s called Chinese Idioms and the teacher is one of my favourites. A big part of this course will be chengyu, but we will also go over other types of idioms. The textbook we use is something our teacher have gathered together from many sources, I believe it can’t be find from bookstores. I hope that this course will help me with both reading and speaking, as idioms are a big part of Chinese language. Even though it’s a selective course, it will be hard work thanks to our strict teacher and hard material.


So here are all of my courses for this semester which will last until January. I’m going to have to study harder than ever to have good grades and make progress as fast as is needed. Only 16 months left until graduationg, 16 months left for (some kind of) fluency!