Mandarin

Beijing – First Impressions

We’ve now been in Beijing for just over a week and are starting to settle in. The city is HUGE – with a population of 25 million it’s just under three times as big as London. This leads to giant motorways running through the city and people just everywhere. We take the metro a few times each day for getting to language classes and seeing sights and it is an exhausting experience – the metro system itself can’t be faulted as there never seem to be any delays (cough cough London underground) but there are just so many people trying to get everywhere that the trains are packed closer than the London rush hour, but all the way through the day and on every line. What would be nice, too, is if the metro maps corresponded with what metro lines and stations actually exist, which doesn’t always seem to be the case! Crossing roads is another interesting experience – I feel we get through quite a few life or death moments each day as there are so many lanes to get across and no one takes any notice of the lights. (more…)

China

The exams are finished, the celebrations are over, my Oxford room stripped bare for the last time – and now I’m counting down the days until I leave for China with Katy on Saturday. It’s the first big trip abroad I’ve done in years and I couldn’t be more excited! We’re starting off in Beijing for two weeks, taking some Mandarin lessons in the mornings and planning to explore the city in the afternoons (if we can survive the heat and smog – judging from the last few days in London I’m not too great at dealing with the heat!). (more…)