Pre-Program Language Preparation (PPLP) are short assignments designed to freshen up our Chinese abilities and learn some basic “survival” phrases. Led by our resident director, Isabel, these assignments were both fun and pretty useful. While I am certainly no expert in Chinese, I did have about 2 years of high-school level Chinese under my belt before nsliy. The “advanced” assignments proved to be just challenging enough to push me to learn more, yet not impossible. There were also beginner exercises, which were generally more of the assignments provided within our nsliy-provided textbook.
Some of the assignments were more personal, such as write and record a brief paragraph describing yourself and describe a hobby you participate in. Others tended to be more situational and geared towards preparing us for China, such as write and record a possible exchange you would have in a restaurant or describe a movie to peers. Our last assignment was the most fun; it was to translate any English song into Chinese – I did 7 Years by Luke Graham.
In addition to the PPLP assignments, each nsliy scholar was required to participate in two office hour sessions. These sessions were with the resident director and a few other Zhuhai students. In these, we went over our homework assignments and generally created a short skit/exchange between ourselves, just to practice thinking on our feet in Chinese. Additionally, Isabel (our RD) was there to answer any questions we may have about language learning, packing, and Chinese life.