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Malte Rasch's Student Life in Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)

Views:889 Time:1/15/2014 12:00:00 AM

(Editor`s Note: Malte Rasch, a student from Germany, fascinated by China's exotic culture and rapid economic development, began studying Chinese language after completing his doctorate, because he thinks the best way to get to know a country and its people is to learn its language. He has been studying Chinese at Beijing Foreign Language Studies University (BFSU) for three months and plans to continue his studies until next June. )

 Funny things about learning Chinese

Malte says Chinese is not easy, but he likes it because Chinese characters are so different from any other language. He is fascinated by their enigmatic forms and loves trying to decipher them. He can write quite a few characters but reading remains difficult because he can only recognize 50 percent of the characters in an article. But he can speak simple Chinese and his pronunciation is quite good. He enjoys learning Chinese. There are only eight students in his class, so everyone has the opportunity to talk and participate in class activities. They sometimes sing and dance together with the teachers.

Chinese pronunciation puzzles Malte: The same word pronounced in a different tone may have a quite different meaning, for example 练习 "liànxí" (practice) and 联系"liánxì"(contacting someone), 请问 "qǐngwèn"(May I ask…); 请吻 "qǐngwěn"(Please kiss…).

 Internship in Chin

Malte's scholarship allows him to attend an internship program. Each week he goes to visit some German-Chinese joint ventures in the Chaoyang District. He has discussions with the staff and attends lectures on doing business in China.

Differences between China and Germany

He has also noticed cultural differences between China and Germany. He finds it easy to get to know people in Beijing. For instance, he often talks to strangers on the street. If he sees some old folks playing chess, singing or dancing in a park, he can just say, "Can I join in?" and they are happy for him to get involved. He is not embarrassed at all because it seems quite ok in China. But in Germany strangers do not want to have anything to do with each other.

Another big difference is the food. Chinese food differs a lot from German food. But Malte loves Chinese food, especially spicy food. His favorite Chinese dish is a Xi'an specialty, Yangrou Paomo (a mutton soup served with wheat flour flat bread).

In Germany, people value their privacy. But in China, people like to hang around together and they do not care so much about privacy.

And, says Malte, Chinese students work much harder than German students. They study till 10 o'clock in the evening, while German students usually go out partying at night.

Whole life in Beijing

He has made many Chinese friends and friends from other countries and often goes ou
t with them to bars in Sanlitun or Wudaokou. They also do sports together, such as playing tennis and basketball. Malte is particularly good at badminton and is taking part in badminton tournament for foreign students in Beijing's universities.

Although he has only lived in Beijing for three months, Malte knows his way around quite well. He knows to go to Zhongguancun to buy electronic equipment and to Xizhimen and Beijing Zoo to buy clothes. He has also learnt how to bargain. He enjoys shopping at the Beijing Zoo Clothing market because clothes are very cheap.

Malte says on the whole life in Beijing is good. There are supermarkets, restaurants and sports facilities within walking distance of his lodgings, and Beijing's many bicycle lanes make cycling safe.

Malte says he will stay in China for at least another year. After finishing his studies he plans to look for an internship in an international or German company. After the internship, if he can get a decent job, he may even settle down in China.



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