I arrived from Paris 5 months ago, and I\'m still studying i...
I arrived from Paris 5 months ago, and I\'m still studying in BLCU. First I was very happy because the university is really beautiful ! They have gardens everywhere, full of trees, they even have a small pond in one of them !
The only thing is they began some renovations during the summer and it rapidly transformed into a very noisy place, specially around building 7 to 10. But if you don’t live on campus, it should be okay.
The registration is a bit bumpy if you don\'t already speak a very good chinese, and my advice would be to go with a chinese friend if you have one : a lot of papers, and most of the administration members do not make it easier, cause a lot of them don\'t (want to ?) speak english at all, even if they see that you don’t speak a single word of chinese, but after all, we’re in China, so…
Be careful also with the placement test, personally I was placed in a level far too advanced for me, and it was almost impossible to follow. If the level does not fit you, don\'t listen to the teachers, they will try to keep you in their class, telling you that you can practice more if you want to go to an upper level, or that you have to work harder if you want to go to a lower level. They will also tell you that you cannot change class after 3 days, which in fact is still possible. All the teachers I’ve seen are all really nice, though.
However, again, the administration can be total beasts ! I and a majority of my classmates had tons of problems with them, and you’ll probably have to threaten them to ask for your money back before you get what you want.
The teaching is okay, but I was a bit surprised to see that we’re 15 to sometimes more than 20 in some classes. You’ll learn some useful and some useless things, so I recommend a language partner as soon as you begin, to help you distinguish which vocabulary and grammatical structures are really helpful for your life in Beijing.
It was a bit surprising that after one month, we knew how to say that our japanese classmate’s dictionary is very thick, but we were never told how to buy a metro ticket, or to ask for the bill in a restaurant. Again, a language partner is really a good thing, cause some days, the lessons are not really immediately useful.
You’ll learn simplified, but you\'ll also have access to traditional characters in the books, which is really cool if you want to go to Hong Kong or Taiwan later, like me.
I personally regret a little bit that the teachers encourage you to take the Beijing habits to speak, with a lot of rrrr everywhere. You’ll understand maybe a little bit more the people in Beijing, but there are 1 billion 400 millions other people speaking chinese with slightly different habits. Again, it is very personal, cause I started to learn in Taipei, and I find that mandarin from southern Asia is really more clear than in Beijing.
I was also surprised that the teachers don’t pay more attention to the stroke order, which is essential if you want to write a good chinese. They also don’t teach the radicals, which would be more than helpful to understand the chinese language ! It’s a bit like you learn how to write without learning your alphabet before...
To finish about the teaching, I had some friends in the intensive program (30 hours a week instead of 20), and apparently, the rhythm is really hard, so be prepared !
About the dorms,I personally was very lucky to be in a good building (7) in a single room, but some classmates had some roaches and also some bad smell problems in building 17, the administration was apparently not very receptive… Carreful also with the renovations, they won’t hesitate to wake you up, open your door, at 7 or 8, even on sunday. Right now it’s impossible to sleep in in building 7...
In conclusion, I still recommend this school, because your chinese will progress rapidly.
However, the teaching in BLCU is, I think, very incomplete if you want to acquire strong basis in chinese, cause they try to go too fast and they forget the essentials, but still helpful if you already have good basis and just want to improve your skills.
I also regret that the administration is so brutal and seems to consider foreigners like cash cows.