So, loyal readers: where are all the ooohs and aaaahs about that Gerhard drawing?
Greetings from Beijing.
We're here piloting a new summer undergraduate research exchange program between the University of Michigan and Peking University. One of my colleagues and I (we're easy to spot in the image below) brought over 3 UM undergraduate chemistry majors, and we'll be returning with 4 PKU students, all of whom will have 8 weeks of summer research in the respective departments. Given that the Chinese students know an infinitely greater amount of English than the US students know Chinese, and are (in general) more familiar with the US, and (in general, on a campus like UM) have a number of pre-existing support networks... we've created a 2-week "boot camp" for the US students, comprising language instruction, history/culture instruction, and some field trips. We've been in China about 36 hours, and we've had our first outing - a classic - to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City/Imperial Palace. Some of the staff from the UM/PKU Joint Institute joined us, as well as the person who will be our language instructor. It's safe to say that our ability to speak and understand Chinese went up infinitely over the course of the day.