Asian Studies Alumni News!
Prior to starting my Fulbright grant period, I used a Critical Language Enhancement Award, to reach a higher level of Chinese fluency than I would have been able to do on my own. I participated in CET’s Harbin Intensive Chinese Language Program, which I highly recommend for serious students of Chinese. The program is intense and there is a lot of work, but you come out of it with a new understanding of Chinese and a high confidence level with speaking.
As I started my official grant period, I made sure to find the right apartment to live in for the time I am in Kunming, a city in the southwest province of Yunnan. During the first month, I met with my host professor to discuss getting into the field, which will be a nature reserve in the northwest of the province, near the Himalayan range. Needless to say, I have run into some obstacles while trying to get set up for research. The research that I want to do requires me to work in nature reserves, which are then officially protected areas, and letting foreign researchers in, especially young ones, is somewhat unappealing to most conservation officials in China.
Right now it is also the Chinese New Year vacation, so most professors are out doing research or vacationing, so I have to wait for my professor to get back before I can officially go on a research trip. Since I am getting pretty antsy in the city, I will go on my own or go through a small conservation organization to get a feel for the field site, and to get a clearer picture of what I will research. Kunming is very, very fun so far, and outside of book research and preparation, I have been playing in a rockabilly band with some local musicians, and we have had a few shows already. There is a lot of free time at the moment, so it is good to use this time to read, learn and get into something with the local residents.
Last modified February 26 2013 11:09 AM