On May 16th we finally took the HSK! Our testing center was Nanjing Medical University, so all the students taking the HSK that day took the train to Nanjing 南京 in the morning. Before taking the test, we chilled at a Starbucks in the city center and met up with some of the Nanjing AFSers, who then guided us to the university. I took HSK level 5, which encompasses listening, reading, and writing. Overall, I felt very well-prepared for the test and comfortable taking it. The two hour test flew by! The oral test, however, was a mess. Half the people’s computers didn’t work so everyone was franticly speaking and yelling and moving around. My computer DID work, except because of everyone else, I couldn’t hear anything or concentrate at all. 环境真不好！Anyway, we have to wait around a month for our test results to come out. After the test, we met back up with the Nanjing AFSers for dinner before heading back to Changzhou. I wish we had had more time to visit Nanjing though. It seems like a really cool city, similar to Shanghai, but on a smaller scale.
Now that the HSK’s over, we still have school everyday, but it’s a little more relaxed. We’ve started the 5th textbook, although a lot of the words we already know from studying for the HSK, and we’re also watching some movies in Chinese and things like that. Our last day of school will be June 5th, but before school ends we have two major projects due: an 800+ character essay on our lives in China, and an independent research presentation (in Chinese of course) on a topic of our choice relating to China. I think I will do my project on Xinjiang 新疆 Province: the history, the minorities, the culture, and attitudes towards Xinjiang based on interviewing some people. We also have 3 more weeks of culture classes: dragon dancing at our school (with our school’s really cool PE teacher), kung fu at the No. 2 High School, and then calligraphy at the No. 1 High School. And just like that, school will be over!! It’s hard to believe. Everything seems like it’s on a wind-down already. A month would have seemed like a long time at the beginning of this experience, but now it feels like nothing and I know it will fly by, despite my wish it wouldn’t end so soon. I’m not ready to leave my life here yet, and definately not my friends! I guess what I’ve always heard about studing abroad is true: it’s harder to build a life in one year and leave it forever than it is to just leave your normal life for one year.