Now that I'm more established in Beijing, I'm finally starting to get the hang of keeping up with both schoolwork and my emerging "social life". In the beginning, it seemed really hard to juggle the sudden influx of work while still trying to make friends with a bunch of new people that I haven't met before.
Don't get me wrong, the program is plenty rigorous, which an average of 40 vocab words a day, but it's all about balance. Some days it's more about studying, and others I'm free to explore and to just hang out in Beijing. I feel sometimes the thought of a ton of schoolwork, especially for a summer program can be discouraging for some students, but as long as you manage your time it's totally doable. On the other hand, you can't spend all of your time inside studying! Part of the abroad experience is being in an entirely new place and putting your language skills to work outside of the classroom, and if you spend too much time worrying about the new vocab and grammar, you'll never pick it up as effectively as you would if you spent a little more time doing both.
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<p>Hi, I'm Gretchen, and I'm currently a prospective Languages and Linguistics Major at Swarthmore College, PA. I was born in Rota Spain, and have grown up in various places around the states (notably Hawai'i), and am very excited to be participating in the Beijing Summer Language Intensive program! I'm really into all different types of art, and exploring that interest through all sorts of avenues (this blog will be one of them). On this trip I hope to gain not only language skills, but innumerable friends and experiences that last a lifetime. Join the adventures of an unapologetically queer, short (but not tiny) college student navigating one of the biggest cities in the world!</p>