Six hints for adapting to a new language and way of life

After earning an undergraduate degree remaining June from the University of California, Los Angeles, I also wanted to expand my studies competencies and background in molecular biology earlier than pursuing a scientific diploma. I decided to travel to China to do just this, combining my passions for visiting and studying via immersion in the Chinese language and tradition. Since ultimate September, I have been a research assistant at the Second People’s Hospital in Shenzhen, China. I paintings with a primary investigator and postdocs to study most cancers using the organoid model device. I plan to be here till 2020.

Tips For Adapting to Life in A New Country, Including Language Learning and  Cultural Norms - Harrow International School Hong Kong


Even though I am Chinese–American and grew up talking Mandarin with my mother and father, my transition to China is now not as seamless as you would assume. Soon after my arrival, I realized that my family conversations and Saturday Chinese classes had not fully prepared me for a complete immersion in the language.

From clinical phrases (such as 质粒 zhìlì, plasmid; 合成 héchéng, synthesize) to adjectives (焦虑 jiāolǜ, nerve-racking; 幼稚 yòuzhì, naive), I observed myself fixated on unexpected phrases and trying difficult to memorize and apprehend them. And on top of the language limitations, I nevertheless needed to progress on my research task. Based on my revel, I’ve advanced six suggestions for adapting to a new language (and culture) while shifting forward with your research.
Stay flexible

There are many methods to clear up the trouble. When I face daunting language limitations, I draw on my strengths to find the fastest, maximum accurate answer that offsets my weaknesses. One weak point is reading Chinese characters, so analyzing a Chinese protocol may be tough.

Early in my trip, I located that I ought to: translate the protocol into English using translation websites or apps, find the English protocol online, or ask a colleague to explain it to me in Chinese and then translate it into English.

Using translation software is often quite time-consuming and erroneous; however, it can be beneficial if others are busy. And English protocols tend to be handiest from international biotechnology organizations and now not, say, for the ones written with colleagues’ aid. Translating them myself is predicated on me being fortunate sufficient to find a colleague who can patiently explain every step to me in Chinese. Which answer will work satisfactorily will rely upon the scenario, so test with extraordinary methods and tailor your solutions to draw on your strengths and counterbalance your weaknesses.
Make technology your pal.

The website translate.Google.Cn and the app Pleco have been beneficial for me in China. Google Translate has helped me to recognize clinical terminology, sentences, and paragraphs. It offers me a technical term in English or an idea of what a prolonged text block is saying.
Meanwhile, Pleco helps study personal words by breaking sentences down into distinct chunks and interpreting those terms instead of forming a reworded sentence, as Google Translate does. For instance, for the sentence “这些结果都是阳性的,” Google Translate will give me “These consequences are all fantastic,” while Pleco will provide me with “这些, those; 结果, consequences, final results; 都, all; 是, [used like ‘be’ before a noun]; 阳性, nice; 的, [used at the end of a declarative sentence for emphasis].” These two apps are handy in exceptional methods. Play around with distinctive equipment to see what works nicely for you.
Ask others to assist.

Whenever I wanted help, I could locate many of those who generously assisted.

When I had a problem analyzing directional signs or addresses, I found myself tapping at the closest shoulder or calling out “Oh! Hello there!” in Chinese to a person close by. By asking for help, I have encountered pleasant people willing to gradually down and show me the waWhileile a workforce member gives me office work to fill at the bank out, I sheepishly ask for proof of approximately what I need to finish. Staff participants have been extraordinarily patient with me and take the time to inform me exactly what information I need.

In the laboratory, I have my ‘go-to’ colleagues who kindly show me how to use the device, even if there are step-by way of-step commands (in Chinese, of direction) on how to use it. I try to keep away from usually asking the same man or woman and alternate amongst a small group of researchers who, fortunately, explain matters that vary from the simple (‘What does this Chinese man or woman imply?’) to the complex (‘What do these sensitive knobs do?’).

Learn to be assured, and be keen to invite assistance. This enables you to simplify your life while connecting you with human beings in your community and study areas.
Practice, coach, and.

During my first few months in China, I wanted to consider everything after being told the first time. However, I quickly found that this turned out impossible. I couldn’t write down each new phrase I heard, look up its meaning, and recall it the first time.

And that was OK. I learned to preserve asking — asking humans to copy a word, re-provide an explanation for a phrase, and be accurate once I started something incorrectly. Ask extra than once enables to enhance your memory of recent comments.