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Sunday, June 23, 2024

My First Pal in Beijing


Written by Angelreana Choi (Yale College), Pupil Correspondent for CET Beijing, Summer time 2023

Each CET Beijing scholar is paired with a 语伴 (yǔ bàn), or language companion, to facilitate a smoother transition to life in Beijing and to help with language progress and acquisition. Many yǔ bàn seize dinner with us, assist us research for our exams, and take us to their favourite spots in Beijing. My yǔ bàn, 晋铭 (Jìn Míng), shortly turned considered one of my closest mentors and associates in China.

I arrived at 中国房子 (actually named “China Home”), our dorm in 首师大 (Capital Regular College), at 7 AM on June eighth, and earlier than I even had time to unpack a suitcase, considered one of my CET associates let me know that Jìn Míng, a grasp’s scholar at CNU, was ready for me within the foyer of 中国房子.

The outside of a dorm building with Chinese characters on the wall for CET Beijing students

A photograph I took of 中国房子 (zhōngguó fángzi, “China Home”) on the morning I arrived in Beijing.

Accompanied by one other Yale-China Fellow and her yǔ bàn (Jìn Míng’s roommate), we ventured to the varsity’s 餐厅 ( cafeteria) for breakfast. In between stuffing my face with 油条 (yóutiáo, deep-fried dough, a typical breakfast meals in China) and 生煎包 (shēng jiān bāo, pan-fried buns), I bombarded Jìn Míng with questions, wanting to study extra about her and her life in China. We talked about our households, hometowns, and what we appreciated to do in our free time.

Deep-fried dough, an egg, and pan-fried buns on a plate

My first breakfast in Beijing (and with Jìn Míng)! 油条 (yóutiáo, deep-fried dough), 生煎包 (shēng jiān bāo, pan-fried buns), and 鸡蛋 (jīdàn, egg).

Within the following weeks, Jìn Míng really went above and past to help me and assist me modify to Beijing. She accompanied me to the closest Financial institution of Beijing (which is sadly fairly removed from CNU) to assist me arrange my debit card after I forgot my passport when the CET group went a few days earlier. She helped me arrange all the important apps (JD, Táobǎo, Gāodé Maps, Měituán). She took me to play badminton along with her roommates as a result of she knew I appreciated to play it with my household. And on Thursdays, after my courses ended, she would spend hours serving to me edit and follow my 报告 (bàogào, report) for our weekly oral exams.

CET Beijing students and their language partners sitting around multiple tables indoors to share shaved ice

Jìn Míng and her three roommates (all yǔ bàn) took two of my associates and me to a close-by mall for some 冰粉 (bīng fěn, shaved ice) dessert.

Three weeks in the past, Jìn Míng took me to 玉渊潭公园 (Yùyuāntán Park), the place we walked for hours and talked about all the things from our supreme sorts (we came upon we’re just about searching for the identical particular person) to completely different expectations our dad and mom had for us once we have been rising up.

A bridge, walkway, and many trees in Yùyuāntán Park in Beijing, China

Three weeks in the past, Jìn Míng took me to 玉渊潭公园 (Yùyuāntán Park), near CNU.

Jìn Míng really turned considered one of my closest associates in Beijing. She would all the time be keen to reply any questions I had, irrespective of how foolish or critical it might need been. In my far-from-perfect Chinese language, I’d inform her how I felt that day and what new occasion was occurring in CET. We’ve had so many conversations about our lives and hopes for our futures and so many reminiscences of us laughing hysterically in the course of sidewalks in numerous Beijing neighborhoods.

People holding up glasses of drinks gathered in the middle of the table for a cheers

Two of my associates and I handled our yǔ bàn to a Western-style brunch to thank them for being such wonderful yǔ bàn and associates.

Sadly, each CET scholar adjustments yǔ bàn in the course of this system, and Jìn Míng left to go house for summer season break final week. The day earlier than she left, she handled me to dinner and took me purchasing for snacks and water for CET’s upcoming journey to Chengdu (hold an eye fixed out for my Chengdu weblog submit!).

A bird-eyes view of a dinner table with vegetables and other Chinese dishes

The day earlier than Jìn Míng left Beijing for summer season break, she handled me to dinner.

After we mentioned goodbye, I began getting actually emotional. She purchased me a bracelet—blue as a result of she remembered that I like oceans and lakes (a results of rising up in landlocked Missouri). She instructed me I may keep at her house through the holidays and that she would additionally go to me in 安徽 (Anhui), the place I shall be educating for the subsequent two years. She additionally thanked me for serving to her see extra of her personal worth and value.

A close-up of a bracelet with a little fish in the middle and some opaque beads

The bracelet Jìn Míng purchased me on the day that she left.

I’m so grateful to have met such a sort and caring pal so early on in my two-year keep in China. We really may very well be ourselves round one another and discuss and snort about all the things. Positive, there was a language barrier at occasions, however Jìn Míng was by no means judgmental and was all the time keen to assist me search for a brand new vocabulary phrase and let me take my time after I tried to search out the suitable option to say one thing in Chinese language.

One of many highlights of my summer season was assembly Jìn Míng and forming this true friendship. Her help, steerage, and care have made a long-lasting influence on my expertise with CET and in China. I’m already counting down the times till the subsequent time we meet.

A CET Beijing student and her language partner standing in front of a wall outside

Jìn Míng and me!


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