This is my third week at the Omeida Chinese Academy and already, it has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Never have I felt more at home in a foreign land and more comfortable living amongst so many strangers. After my initial minute culture shock of new tastes and absurd driving etiquette, it was a piece of cake to settle into this rural way of life. Undoubtably, it helps that this small town of Yangshuo is a breathtaking paradise of green jagged mountain peaks and glistening blue rivers. The school itself is as well its own sort of paradise; a friendly and engaging atmosphere that cultivates strong connections between the students and teachers. This place has allowed me to make many friends of all different backgrounds and ages from all over the world. Everyday I meet someone new and can easily connect through our shared interest of learning a new language.
As a complete beginner to Mandarin I was a little hesitant to dive head first into the language at a school so far away from home, but this did not prove to be a difficult struggle. My only issue is finding enough time in the day to do all that I want to do! From swimming at the river and studying on the beach to volunteering at the school and going out at night with friends, I have learned many valuable lessons about how to balance work and play. I’m rarely bored for I find that there is always something to do. Every morning I have three hours of classes, then volunteering in the afternoon and many school-organized activities and personal excursions around Yangshuo.
The staff is very dedicated and committed to each and every student’s learning progress. They are constantly trying to improve the language experience. The small class sizes are extremely advantageous, this way the lessons can be personally tailored to fit your learning style. The teachers are very understanding and helpful, in and out of class. Thanks to them, I have progressed very quickly and now can have basic conversations with the locals I interact with on the daily. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to talk to your favourite shopkeeper and ask them about their day.
In conclusion, have nothing but good things to say about my experience thus far, and look forward to my next 6 months of learning here at Omeida!