Learning a language and gaining independence: a farewell to Shanghai

Zoë Gilbard '14 finishes up her Shanghai experience at the Chinese Language Summer Institute at Peddie's sister school, EFZ.

我很高兴有机会学习在一个上海中学,特别二附中。二附中有很漂亮的校园,崭新的宿舍,还有很好的老师。在二附中,我们有两个中文老师,叫林老师和王老师。他们都是很聪明也很有趣。我们也有一个其他的老师,叫丁老师。丁老师现在在大学学习教育。她跟我们一起参观了上海。丁老师是上海人,所以她了解这个城市。高老师和蒋老师也主在我们的宿舍,他们每天帮我们。在这过去的月中,我学了很多新的东西。我不但提高了我的汉语水平,而且我也学了其他重要的东西。

首先,我学习了一个外语特别难。我用中文说、读、写、听、思考、甚至梦到了。有时候,我觉得我是一个上海人!在马路,我可能跟小贩聊天儿。在地铁站,我可能问工作员“厕所在那里?”。在饭店,我可能点菜。我为我的中文多少提高感到自豪的。对我的老师我很感谢。
其次,我觉得这个经历帮我成为一个更独立的学生和青年人。开始时,住在不一样的城市对我很难。我必需学了地铁怎么用,学校在那里,还有怎么谈判。有时候,我坐了地铁独自的,吃了饭独自的,走吧独自的。几次,我一点害怕,一点不高兴。我今年十五岁,所以做这些活动独自的是一种全新的经历。我从经验中学到了。
最后,我交了新的国际朋友。现在,我有朋友在各种各样的国家。这个月,我笑了很多,因为我很开心交这些学生。他们都很聪明,很有趣,很有意思,还有都喜欢学习中国文化。虽然他们从很多不一样的地方来,但是我们都是青年人,所以我们有很多一样的思想和感情。我会想念他们。
I am so happy to have had the opportunity to study at a high school in Shanghai, especially EFZ. EFZ has a beautiful campus, new dorms, and wonderful teachers. At EFZ, we have two Chinese teachers. Their names are Mr. Lin and Ms. Wang. They are both incredibly smart and engaging in class. We also have another teacher, named Ms. Ding. Ms. Ding is currently studying at a university here in Shanghai, to be a teacher. She went with us to visit many places in Shanghai. Ms. Ding was born and raised in Shanghai, so she knows the city very well. Mr. Gao and Ms. Jiang have also been living in our dorms here at EFZ, and they help and take care of us every day. In the past month, I have learned so many different things. I not only increased my knowledge of the Chinese language, and my confidence in using it, but I also learned many other important things.

First, I studied a foreign language which is especially hard to learn. I spoke, read, wrote, listened, thought, and even dreamed in Chinese. Sometimes, I felt like I was from Shanghai myself! On the street I could talk to the vendors. In the subway station I could ask the guards for directions to the bathroom. In restaurants I could order food. I am proud of how much my Chinese has improved. I am very thankful to my teachers.
Secondly, I feel as if the experiences I have had here have helped me to become a more independent student and young person. In the beginning, living in a different city was very difficult for me. I had to learn how to use the subway, where the school was, and how to bargain with street vendors. Sometimes, I had to use the subway alone, eat alone, or walk alone. A few times I was a little bit scared and a little bit homesick. I am only 15 years old, so doing these things alone was a new experience for me. I learned a lot from these experiences.
Finally, I made many new international friends. Now I have friends in a variety of countries all over the world. I smiled and laughed so much this month, and it was because I met such great friends here. They are all so smart, fun, interesting, and… they love to learn about Chinese culture. Although we came from many different places, we are all young people, so we have many similar thoughts and feelings about the world. I will miss them all very much. 

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