My Daoyin Study Course with SCIC Beijing 2009
Name: Ma Lan
Age: 29 years
Purpose of study: Having a good time in a half gap year. Learning Qi Gong, which I have wanted to do for a long time.
Host school/institute: Beijing Sport University
SCIC Student with Professor Yang
Prof Yangyubin demonstrates Moves
Malan on the Daoyin class
Thanks for coming to China with SCIC Beijing!
1: Is this your first time in China?
No, I have been to China for holiday and travelling before.
2: What course are you studying here?
I am studying Daoyin Yangsheng Gong (Qi Gong) five times per week and Mandarin for beginners three times per week.
3: How long are you here for?
I am here for one semester, from September until February.
4: How is your Martial Arts class and teacher?
My class is an all Chinese student class in their second year at the Beijing Sport University, we are around 20 students. Most of them specialize in Martial Arts, and are quite fast learners of the Daoyin Yangsheng forms. Most of them speak no more English than they have learned at school, which doesn't seem to be much. So it was all hand and feet language and a lot of misunderstandings in the beginning. But now at the end of the semester I can hear that many of them have been taking English lessons and I know a few Chinese words, so we can actually have some small conversations. My teacher is the best! First of all he knows his stuff, then he is patient, he is fun, and he seems to enjoy teaching. He is extremely good at demonstrating when he explains about the forms, corrects mistakes, and gives instructions for exercises. So in spite of my poor Chinese and my teacher's limited English, I feel I get most of the points. I really feel I have learned a lot. The only thing I am sorry about is that I didn't understand any of the theory on Daoyin Yangsheng Gong that was taught.
5. Any tips on getting the most from your training?
As I have a hard time remembering a newly introduced form, I used the VCDs and books they sell at the DYYSG for my training at home. It was really good for my progress to train by myself at home and reviewing what we had learned in class.
It also helped me to look up and find out what the names of the different figures in the forms meant (e. g. 'zhengrencaiqi' means something like 'The immortal gathers qi'), although this look a lot of time. But knowing the meaning of the Chinese names made the form easier to remember and often gave me a better understanding of the figures.
6: How is your language class and teacher?
We are a very small class, six students in the beginning, now at the end of the semester three students (two Korean guys and me), this is really good as we all get a lot of attention from the teacher. I think we are having a good time together. The teacher is very good, she really takes an interest in us and seems to have a lot of experience in teaching. Our teacher does her best to keep us motivated which really is necessary, as it is a slow process to learn Mandarin for someone who only speaks European languages. I also find it quite impressive that she can teach us grammar in Chinese and we understand. It seems to be standard that the Mandarin teachers only speak very little English.
7: Any tips on making Chinese easy to remember?
Eermů I read somewhere that you have to write a Chinese character by hand an 80 to a 100 times before you remember it properly, sounds easy. Also, you can make everybody around you speak only Chinese to you, I always ended up with a huge headache those days.
8. How is your cultural class and teacher?
I didn't take them
9: What is your accommodation like?
I rent my own flat.
10: Have you made any Chinese friends?
Only some little-while-friends I think, as our communication is very basic.
11: What do you think of Beijing?
I think Beijing is an exciting, student friendly city. You can do anything from sightseeing in the historical an new parts of the city, go shopping, eat at interesting places, hang out at cafes, listen to good live music, to sit in the campus library and study and be infected by the hardworking Chinese students eagerness to learn. After having found out that a grumpy looking Beijinger not necessarily is grumpy, I find the people here nice, too. I had to get used to how big the city is, which means a lot of transportation time. After having spent five months here I still think there is much more to see and do.
12: What is your favourite thing about China?
My favourite thing about Beijing is the diversity. There seems to be space for almost everything and all kinds of people. And the people. People spending their free time in parks and streets to play, chat, do taiji. People working hard with a smile on their faces. It seems that really many people in China have an ability to make the best of everything. I also find Chinese traditional medicine and how it views health and the human body very interesting, but I couldn't say I know a lot about it, yet.
13: What do you think of Chinese food? And what is your favourite Chinese dish?
I love the food I get in Beijing, although sometimes my stomach thinks it's a bit oily. My favourite dish: shi ban niu ruo.
14: Why did you choose SCIC Beijing's Program?
SCIC Beijing offered Qi Gong courses combined with Mandarin lessons at the university I was interested in. I needed help to enrol at the university, as all their information was in Chinese, also I needed help because I was late for the official enrolment date. SCIC Beijing seemed well based in Beijing instead of being some big organisation on another continent. And I was right, I get all the help I need when I dial Chen Lei's (Director of SCIC Martial Arts Program) mobile phone number in Beijing.
15. What benefits have you gotten from the course?
I think my body and mind have benefited a lot from daily Qi Gong training, my body feels good and more flexible. The program has given me a good head start into learning Qi Gong and Mandarin. And I have learned to make a (short-time) home in a culture new to me.
16: Any tips for other students coming to China for training and study?
Be prepared that the Chinese language is an important part of the studies, I think.
17. Will you come to China again?