Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beijing Week 4: I can go local…

My Chinese language skills have not improved; however, I’ve used my dictionary less and less now. I feel I can be a local here, if I can speak the language. Even, if I can’t speak the language, I think I’ve adapted and adopted some of the local habits. Before, I was afraid to cross the streets in Beijing (even with the signal lights and crosswalks) but now I have no fear and just go with the flow. I also play badminton at our apartment’s courtyard with my roommate EJ (he’s from George Washington University). Every now then, I would think I can manage living in Beijing, if there was not a language barrier. The food here is great, if I want Western food or other cuisines, they are available. There is always something to do-from tourist attractions to a simple afternoon tea in the park or a weekend trip to the mountains.

The past weekend, Dr. Sun took us to the mountains to have our weekly discussion about our internship and independent research. It was a nice change of scenery from the city. I guess one can say that the novelty of Beijing was wearing off. Because the fourth week, I toured the 798 Beijing Art District along with the Olympic Village, and the Summer Palace. These attractions and spots were nice; however, by being in the mountains and witnessing what life was like there was a refreshing new perspective of what life was like an hour northeast of Beijing.

As for my internship, even though it has slowed down, I have continued to do research on satellites and missile defense. Even though the article has been approved by the Navy War College Review, the article was submitted to a few reviewers. These reviewers have provided some comments and suggestions, where in more research is still needed. Likewise, I have also been reviewing articles that will be published in the next issue of China Security.

My independent study research is going well. This week I talked to students who were fans of Japanese anime/manga. In the previous weeks, most of the students were fans of South Korean dramas. So I was able to learn a few students’ perspectives of Japan as compared to South Korea. Plus, it was enjoyable because two of the interviews were a big fan of anime I watched (Bleach) so we were able to talk about what was happening in the show and our favorite characters.

So in the future, if I return to Beijing for work or for another reason, I know that it will be easier to adapt

- Manith Hang

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