2017 is now in session.
This year is going to be pretty amazing for me because of the major plans that I have underway in all things Chinese. In formulating these ideas, I picked up on a bit of superstition: I have 8 total plans. See, Chinese culture views the number ‘8’ is of good luck due to its similar pronunciation to the word ‘fortune’ or ‘wealth.’
I want to share these plans with you today, but there’s also a catch: In Chinese culture, the number ‘4’ represents bad luck due to its similar pronunciation with the world ‘death.’ In the name of not jinxing my supposed good luck, I’ll leave out the fourth item on my agenda. Only time will reveal what other project I have underway, so if you’re at all interested then I suggest that you follow along with my weekly updates on this blog.
1. From June to July, I will spend 4 weeks in Beijing tutoring a host family in the English language
I enrolled in China T’s World Explorers program, where low prices and student discounts can take me Beijing for 4 weeks. Living in a Chinese household will immerse me in Chinese culture in a different way than dorm-life could. (Plus, I’ll detour through India afterwards for two weeks to hang out with my friend, Sri: a whole separate adventure.).
2. From June to August, I will complete a 120-hour program to receive a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certificate
Receiving a TEFL Certification has some unknown benefits. Many English-teaching jobs around the world require only a TEFL certificate, where many of these positions are temporary. These short-term positions means that I can travel the world inexpensively by teaching in one country, traveling throughout the region until my next job begins. My inner-nomad may reveal itself, as this lifestyle is sustainable for a long time.
3. In the Fall Semester, I will study abroad in Beijing and travel more extensively throughout China
After this summer’s “dry run,” I will return to the Chinese capital for a university experience. This long-term, extensive language-immersion opportunity will allow me to rigorously study Mandarin. During the semester, I’ll take a school trip through ancient Silk Road cities. (After the semester ends, I’ll check out South Korea and backpack through Thailand before returning home. )
5. In March, I will lead a team in establishing an advocacy group to specifically address the needs of Chinese-exchange students
This is an on-going, collaborative process which has already begun. Working with professionals and campus-organizations, I am leading a team to establish greater representation of the particular needs and issues faced by Chinese-exchange students. Few American universities– even state schools– have explored this territory. Take note!
6. By December 31st, I will take the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test to receive certification in Mandarin Chinese
My goal: receive an ‘Advanced C’ (professional) certification after studying abroad. The past 5 interesting years in building up my language skills have fueled unexpected friendships and adventures, and this year I seek an official return on investment.
7. Until May 2016, I now officially work as a ‘Peer Mentor’ for a new exchange student
This student may or may not be Chinese, and I will not know for another two weeks, but I will do my very best job to advocate for this individual anyhow. My school has partnered with a Mentoring Collective (organization) called Sheerwater, a company which will match me up with the one. Its like Match.com but for Mentors and Mentees (exchange students).
8. This January, I will help lead the Fairfield University international students’ Spring Orientation
In only 10 days, this adventure will commence. Working with a super talented and fun team last August was a blast, and we will build off of those experiences to upgrade the process to provide more value than ever before.
Needless to say, the adventures in store for 2017 should ‘rock my socks off.’ As the pieces fall into place, I will keep WHOC updated with new discoveries and tid-bits.
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Happy New Years!