So, I visited a study abroad session talk from Nanjing University (南京大学) which was visiting UC Berkeley today, discussing about programs encouraging American students to study abroad in China, as part of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, an initiative with the Chinese and the United States granting scholarships for American students to study in China.
I was the only one who actually showed up to the information session; once people found out I knew Mandarin (or at least, survival level), it became apparent that the more you understand Chinese, the better. Because, people felt comfortable knowing that you could speak the language, (i.e. 我是城市规划学生。我的父母出生在广东。我长大在美国。） Also, Berkeley REALLY does have a big reputation across the world. The program really wanted to encourage Berkeley students to study in Nanjing.
Even crazier, after the info-session, a lady from 江苏广播 (Jiangsu Television) began interviewing me for a quick few minutes, asking me where I was from, why I choose China to study abroad, etc.
This made me nervous, as I’m not the best public speaker in the world; however, I wondered what would have happened if I spoke Mandarin instead of English.
I looked back to the interview I had today, and have a few things in mind. I devote a lot of time to learning Mandarin; for example, I wake up in the morning, head to the library, and work on my Mandarin reading/thinking skills, write Chinese characters. I listen to the Chinese radio, etc.
I think this is one of the biggest challenges I still am coming to terms with. I do like urban planning, and I do like design, but simultaneously, I like languages. However, one issue I have to realize is that design is a field which takes up A LOT OF time, and I mean a lot of time. So does language learning, and the difference is, design = no sleep.
If I focus on transportation planning (交通规划), I do get a chance to experience urban planning, but I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of drawing, etc. Then again, I still can be successful in transport planning if I focus my time on it, because it isn’t a field where I would destroy my sleep.
I do have a final project I am doing to do for ED1; if the process of design really takes away my energy, I will have no choice but to focus on transport planning, with drawing as a side hobby. I would be devoting the rest of my energies with Chinese and Korean language.
I look at lifestyles as a big part of what I do in the future; I really enjoyed talking to the NJU Delegation, especially in Mandarin (YAY!). I think Chinese is a beautiful language; going back to lifestyle, I would be fine with the following career choices, as they complement a lifestyle of travel in Asia/China: transportation planning visualist, researcher at a Chinese/international urban planning think-tank or university, participatory urban designer, Chinese language teacher (in a Chinese university) or Chinese language e-teacher, Chinese culture show host, documentary filmmaker/artist looking at Chinese urbanization; with a focus on Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, or ,Hangzhou.
I’m still in the middle of planning my schedule next week for next Fall, and I really want to make sure I get enough sleep and continue language learning. To quote Nina Yau, I wish to take the path which allows me to last.
Health, 겅강, 健康.
Somebody talk to me, about this, haha. I should start working.