Mandy McLean from China- August 2012
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.