Rachel Palfini

Rachel is a junior at Whitman College majoring in Asian Studies. Originally hailing from Southern California, she will be spending the spring semester of her junior year studying abroad in Shanghai, China, participating in CIEE's "China in a Global Context" program. Rachel is an OCS Blogger for The Pio.

Articles


17 by this author

  1. 再见 Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only June 12, 2014

    I’m heading back to the US on Saturday, which means my study abroad experience is almost officially over. I was talking with another CIEE student and it is really weird to think that it is almost over because studying abroad is something that we had both been talking about with ...

  2. Top 10 Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only May 28, 2014

    This post is somewhat overdue as our Spring Break was more than three weeks ago, but as finals are fast approaching, I need a reminder of the good ole vacation days. To start the trip, Christa Lee '15 and I went to visit last year's Chinese language assistant in Xi'an! ...

  3. Volunteering at Migrant School Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only May 22, 2014

    There are a lot of migrant workers in China, over 130 million. Most migrant workers are leaving poor, rural villages and moving to cities on China’s eastern coast in search of better job opportunities. Most of these jobs are in factories, low-paying according to American standards, but much higher wages ...

  4. The Most Popular Game in China Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only May 15, 2014

    I’m about to let you all in on a little secret. It’s…how to play the most popular game in China! Now, there really is no name to this game, although I presume nicknames have popped up all over China. It is really easy to play, but you rarely win, and ...

  5. Marriage Corner at People’s Park Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only May 7, 2014

    As many of you probably know, Chinese culture, like so many others, places great emphasis on marriage. China has been a patriarchal society since its origin over 5000 years ago, and as such, much value is placed on producing sons. With recent medical advances in the past few decades, the ...

  6. Thick Skin Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only April 26, 2014

    Mandarin is the first oral language I have studied. In high school, I took four years of Latin, but we rarely read aloud, as Latin is a dead language and impossibly difficult to converse in (Latin grammar is very complicated). One of the reasons I enjoyed studying Mandarin so much ...

  7. Ancient Tea and Horse Road Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only April 20, 2014

    This past week was the CIEE Weeklong Excursion and I went to Yunnan Province with 30 other students and 3 teachers. We were traveling along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road (茶马古道) and stopped at different towns that used to be along the route. The Ancient Tea and Horse Road ...

  8. Qingming Festival Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only April 16, 2014

    Last week I had midterms, which is why I have not posted in awhile. A lot has happened in the past few weeks though (besides midterms), so I’ll fill you in on one of the more exciting activities. April 4-6 was the Qingming Festival (清明节) in China. In English, it is ...

  9. Celebrating 21st Birthday in China Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only April 5, 2014

    Last Saturday, I, along with my Chinese tutor (Alex), and CIEE classmate (Kasia), went to Tianzifang (天子方) to celebrate our birthdays (mine was on Sunday and Kasia's was Tuesday). Tianzifang is this relatively new "old-style" shopping area in Shanghai that mostly serves foreign tourists. My host dad had never heard ...

  10. 南京周末旅行 (Weekend Trip to Nanjing) Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 26, 2014

    This past weekend was the CIEE Weekend Trip and I along with 27 other students and 3 professors went to Nanjing. The other options were Hangzhou, Yangzhou, and Wu Zhen but I chosen Nanjing because of its rich history. Nanjing (南京)is the capital of Jiangsu province in Eastern China and literally ...

  11. “The Goddess” Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 20, 2014

    Despite what some days may feel like, I am taking other courses in Shanghai besides my Chinese language class! Last week in Chinese Film and Cinema, we watched Wu Yonggong’s “The Goddess,” which was released in 1934. “The Goddess” was part of the 1930s overall leftist-turn of Chinese cinema, which ...

  12. Slice of Seattle in Shanghai Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 16, 2014

    Today, I joined a fellow CIEE student (Margot) at a coffee shop (Magodo’s 520 Coffee) across from ECNU to work on homework together. I’ve been to lots of coffee shops in Shanghai and they are very similar to the US. Starbucks and Coffeebean & Tea Leaf are basically the same, ...

  13. A Typical Day in Shanghai Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 10, 2014

    7:30 am: Wake up and review for daily Chinese quiz (~30 new characters) 8:30 am: Eat breakfast with host mom or dad 9:10 am: Leave for school 9:20 am: Catch bus to school or walk to metro if bus hasn’t arrived yet by 9:20 9:50 am: Arrive at school 10: 00 am: Chinese class begins 11:50 ...

  14. Culture Shock Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 7, 2014

    Many people told me I would experience culture shock when I came to Shanghai, but I did not take any of their comments seriously. Last summer, I lived on the Thailand/Burma border doing volunteer work with Burmese migrant workers and we lived in really basic conditions: bucket showers, squat toilets, ...

  15. Navigating City of 上海 (Shanghai) Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs March 1, 2014

    I have now been in Shanghai for a week and cannot believe how much has changed since my first night. My first evening in Shanghai was pretty rough, mostly because my plane was delayed in Vancouver for four hours. I’m a pretty relaxed, go with the flow, traveler because I ...

  16. Old Town (南市) Shanghai Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Off-Campus Blogs Web Only March 1, 2014

    Today was my first day in Shanghai without CIEE orientation activities, so with my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook in hand, I headed for Old Town Shanghai. There are 11 districts in Shanghai and Old Town is one of them. I chose to spend the day in Old Town because it’s ...

  17. All packed…and we aren’t leaving for the airport right now?! Little Sparrow with Dreams of Swans Web Only February 21, 2014

    I (and the rest of my family for that matter) am notorious for waiting till the last minute to pack for a trip. I spent 2 months in Thailand this past summer and did not start packing until 6 hours before we were supposed to be en route to LAX. ...

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