Taking Classes Outside Your Comfort Zone!!!!

So, I’m a sophomore and I did not have a great Spanish learning experience in high school. When I came to Furman, I asked if they would give me ANYTHING other than Spanish because I was still feeling a little scarred from high school. When I received my schedule during the summer, I saw that I was registered for Mandarin Chinese 110. MANDARIN…Chinese.

I did not really have a plan. At that point I wasn’t familiar enough with the drop/switching class procedures at Furman, so I was just preparing myself for the fact that I would be failing my foreign language in the fall. When my textbook arrived before I moved in (because back then I ordered books ahead of time LOL), I opened it, saw that it contained close to no English, closed it, and died a little inside.

FDOC came, and I probably looked terrified to Dr. Zhang, my Chinese professor. He began the class in Chinese, taught us some beginner phrases, and explained how we would be learning. When I walked out of class, to be honest, I was kind of excited. It was very different from anything I had ever learned. It still is. The first month passed and I learned that I LOVE CHINESE. Not only do I somehow find it easier than any other language, but Chinese culture is SO interesting and unique.

Furman’s Chinese professors are dedicated to helping us grasp the language in both reading and writing (Chinese characters, yippee!). When I think about how much I learned last year, I am amazed at their teaching skills in their SECOND language. That would be like me teaching English to Chinese students IN Chinese. Crazy.

This year Chinese is still SO fun, and in addition to my Chinese class, I live in the Chinese language house which is super fun!!! I read Chinese fairly well for an intermediate student, and I can have slow conversations, especially with my classmates! I am overjoyed that I was placed in Chinese last year. It played a great deal in shaping my college experience. This being said, I strongly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and taking classes that make you a little uncomfortable.

If you’re thinking about Chinese, ask me, #PaLabri about it anytime!

Sincerely, 金爱梅

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