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Mandy McLean from China- August 2012

By: 
Mandy McLean
Research Group: 
Gorelick Group
Language class in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (Mandy standing 7th from the right).

Language class in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (Mandy standing 7th from the right).

Mandy standing in a field of seed corn in Zhangye, Gansu province.

Mandy standing in a field of seed corn in Zhangye, Gansu province.

Mountains in Zhangye, Gansu province.

Mountains in Zhangye, Gansu province.

Mountains in Zhangye, Gansu province.

Mountains in Zhangye, Gansu province.

你好 folks! As you may have guessed from my greeting, I am writing this message to you from China. My travels initially brought me to Beijing where I studied Mandarin for a few weeks and met with fellow researchers at Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I have since moved westward to my field site in Zhangye where I am studying sustainable water management for irrigated agriculture. Since my arrival in China five weeks ago, I have been very busy; I have talked with a number of scientists, learned [some of] the ins and outs of data collection in China, explored everything from farmlands to megacities to a seemingly endless stream of Buddhist temples and Qing Dynasty era palaces. However, it turns out that two months of Mandarin classes does not raze the American-Chinese language barrier, just fractures it. But on the bright side, I am happy to say that adequate communication via broken Mandarin and exaggerated hand gestures has become my forte. Overall, it has been an amazing trip! See you back at Stanford in a few weeks.