My Chinese Summer at Cal

June – August 1985
Intensive Workshop in Elementary Chinese (Mandarin)
University of California 
Berkeley, California

I moved out of my dorm a week before school was over, dumped my stuff in my sister’s deserted Berkeley apartment, and commuted back and forth between Davis and Berkeley for finals even as I started my summer Mandarin immersion program.

After that overstretched first week – during which I managed to permanently frustrate a professor who had believed in me – I settled into what would be the brutal routine of study, that would result in near-proficiency in two-and-a-half months.

I have my share of regrets about my time in college – roads not taken, opportunities missed – but taking this course opened up more doors than anything before or since, and it continues to do so decades later.

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