Saturday, June 21, 2008

1 Month in China

It's already been one month. Time has gone by so fast. The first two weeks consisted of language and culture classes and sight seeing. I don't feel like I've learned very much in these classes. While taking language classes, I had to study a little to not be completely clueless in class. Now that research has begun I've forgotten everything. I wished the language class would have continued throughout the summer.

Being a part of Professor's Ma research group has been quite comfortable. I work around 40 hours a week. For the last two weeks I've worked with 2 grad students and 1 incoming grad student to get a feel of the different research being done in the group. The research being done involves the synthesis of supramolecules and clickamers. The most difficult part of working in the lab would be understand what the grad students are trying to explain what and why I need to do something. Their English is pretty good, it's just chemistry is difficult to understand in English but adding an accent makes it a little more difficult to understand. Also there are times where they don't know how to say something, so they use a translating program to help them out. Patients is a required.

The worst part of research has to be the 2 weekly meetings. My group meets with Professor Pei's and Zhao's group on Tuesday afternoon and Friday evening. Every Tuesday a number of students are required report their work from the past month and Friday is a literature explanation ppt. Since my arrival the professors have required the students present in English. They must really hate us. Something I find really amusing is when I go to some presentations, whether it's in English or Chinese maybe 1/3 of the people are sleeping. There are less people sleeping at the group meeting though.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


1) What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm looking forward to learning more about my own heritage. Being born in the US I haven't been exposed to an actual Asian lifestyle.

2) What gives you any sense of anxiety at all about going?

The biggest problem about going to a foreign country is being able to communicate with the natives. The majority of the group have this same issue, so it makes me feel a lot more at ease to know there are other people in the same boat.

3) Not everyone who expressed interest ended up applying to go.. what was the most compelling aspect of the program that made you DECIDE you wanted to do it?

Knowing that this trip was a chance of a lifetime made me apply. I will be able to travel China and learn more about Chemistry at the same time, so why not. The worst that could happen is not being accepted.

4) The pre-program period in Ann Arbor is meant to get the group to get to know each other before the trip. Is this a good idea? Were the activities effective?

The pre-program period was a great idea; however I wished the activities were scheduled better. The activities started at 9:30 and were supposed to end at about 4. We always finished early, which is not a big deal, but having breakfast then lunch within 2 hours of each other wasn't that great.