Libby Swan discusses the anxieties of concluding her year abroad, as well as maintaining her Mandarin language skills; translated by Chi Cheung.
我们弹指一挥间已到第二个学期了 — 时间去哪儿啦？这也是说七个月以前，我从北京到英国了，而我在中国留学的阅历结束了。虽然我埃克赛特的生活没有什么可抱怨的，但我不由自主想念中国的生活，尤其跟我中国朋友出去玩儿并且尝尝各种各样的中国菜。不过，我准备回来英国的阶段，想念我中国生活并不是让我心烦意乱的原因。我最害怕的是把学会的中文能力失掉了。在中国最后几个月，我跟最好中国朋友们朝夕相处了，天天一直其乐融融地利用中文交流。对我来说，这种的机会难能可贵，我活得其所。刚到中国的时候我往往惶惑，摸着石头过河，不过在这短短时间内我开始感觉坦然自若，甭装样子了。我说话的自发性提高了、学会了怎么自然地用合适的成语，并且我并不怕开口说话了。到英国以后这些习得技能势所必然会消失对吧？另一个忧虑是，我回到埃克塞特大学以后会有一门口试，那在整个暑假中我就怎么会保持这些语言方面呢？首先，还好我的中国朋友们很乐意每一个星期给我打个电话，谈一谈无论何事。这对于我的口语水平有大影响了，因为令人惊讶的是，忘记简简单单词语如
此之快。因此而已经常联系非常重要。再说，再开学以后，更容易保持中文水平，因为我们每个星期有六个小时的课，再加作业，所以用中文的时间更长。还有我找到了别的优秀的中国朋友，跟他们常常见面，练习一下。对于语言方面来讲，英国生活当然比不上中国的，不过如果努力勤奋刻苦练习，掌握的语言并不会涣然冰释。我们就该相信啦 — 加油!
Mandarin version by Libby Swan
Time passes like a fleeting moment and we are already in our second semester-where has the time gone? This also means that seven months ago, when I went from Beijing to the UK, my experience of studying in China was over. Although my life in Exeter has nothing to complain about, I can’t help but miss the life I used to have in China, especially going out with my Chinese friends and eating all kinds of mouth-watering Chinese food. However, when I was in a stage of going back to the UK, missing the life that I had in China was not the reason that upset me. The thing that I am most afraid of is losing the Chinese language that I have learnt in the past few months. During the last period of time in China, I have been spending time with my really good Chinese friends and communicated happily with them in Chinese every single day. For me, this kind of opportunity is valuable, and I’m living it. When I first arrived in China, I was always overwhelmed with the bewilderment, but in this short period of time, I begin to feel more comfortable, and not pretending anymore. I became more spontaneous to speak with others, I learned how to use the idioms in a natural way, and I’m not afraid to talk with people anymore. These acquired skills might disappear in the UK, right? Another worry is that when I am back in Exeter there will be an oral exam, how am I supposed to maintain the Chinese that I have learnt throughout the whole summer? First of all, I am fortunate enough that my friends are happy to give me a call every week to chat in Chinese. This has had a big impact on my speaking level, because, surprisingly, it is really easy to forget some of the simple words that I have learnt, so it’s important to keep in touch with my Chinese friends. Besides, after school starts, it is easier to maintain our Chinese level, because we have six hours of classes per week plus homework, so we use Chinese for a longer period of time. Also, I have found some new Chinese friends, by meeting them often, I can practice with them.
The language, the life that I have in the UK is certainly not comparable to China, but if you work and practice hard, mastering the language will not be challenging. We’re supposed to believe in it – Go for it!
English translation by Chi Cheung