Finals Time

Hey guys,
It’s been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to write. Well things here have been going on as normal. Classes are finishing up; we have about 1 ½ weeks before the school year is officially over. All of my classes are preparing to take finals. I am definitely ready for a break from school work.
In Chinese I have been involved in a speech contest based out of UCLA. We had to translate an English essay into Chinese, memorize the entire script and then recite it while being videotaped. I feel like so far we have done a pretty good job. Our topic is solid; we are talking about our experience in China when the earthquake hit Sichuan in May 2008. Luckily we were in the plane when it actually hit so we weren’t hurt but we were able to experience how the Chinese reacted to a major disaster. Anyways, hopefully we will win the competition and receive a free trip to China!
Well I’m excited about studying abroad this summer. Once again, I’ll be heading out to China. I arrive in Beijing early in June. Since I already took the classes last year, I will spend my time going around Beijing and just witnessing life and culture. From there I’ll take a 3 day train to Lhasa, Tibet. In Dr. Jones Intelligence Writing, Briefing and Analysis class we are all assigned a portion of the world to cover. My portion is Tibet so I’m excited to go actually experience what I have spent so much time reporting on. In addition, I am looking forward to using my Chinese language skills and improving as a foreign speaker.
Outside of school I have been busy with the Yavapai County Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. Last month I was matched with a kid from a local elementary school. My roommate Alex was matched with my “little brother’s” twin brother. So once a week Alex and I head down to the elementary school and hang out with our “littles”. We do everything from homework to basketball. It’s very rewarding to directly help younger children succeed by simply being a good example. So if you’re interested in a community service program you could get involved in, I’d definitely recommend the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Well on to my biggest news, I recently was chosen to participate in an internship program with a government agency. As a GSIS major this is a major opportunity to get hands on experience in your field without having a degree. Luckily for anyone interested in GSIS, if you do decide to become an intern, you receive experience credits for the work you do. So I will be moving to the east coast for the second part of the summer and then back to Prescott for the fall semester.
Ok well I’ve got to get back to the books, the last couple weeks of school are definitely the most demanding on time. Even though it’s difficult, it is rewarding to see all your work throughout the semester starting to pay off at the end. Everyone cross your fingers for me for my finals alright? Well I’ll write again before I leave for the summer. Until then,

A Frozen Arizona

A frozen Arizona-
Hey, so it’s been a week now and things around Prescott have definitely changed. There is snow everywhere, the sidewalks are frozen, the wind is bitter and the nights are just short of unbearable. This last week we got somewhere around 1 foot of snow, which led to many other activities. People who enjoy skiing and snowboarding hit either the slopes in flagstaff or the soccer field on campus. Other people made snowmen and had snowball fights. I come from Southern California, I can’t handle this weather, but I’m trying to make the best of it. Here was the coolest thing; we actually had a full blown, don’t come to school, snow day! I moved to Arizona, I did not expect to have a snow day. But hey, it turned out to be pretty cool.
Other than the snow, classes are resuming as normal. Dr. Jones’ class on Intelligence writing and briefing is becoming a little intense as we start to get in depth with our “account country

Blog 02/05/09

Life here is normal and classes are beginning to test what we’ve learned to far. In Intelligence Writing and Briefing we have been assigned an account country to write and brief on a normal occasion. I was assigned the region of Tibet and Xinjiang Province. So every week in class we come with a briefing of what has been happening in the area throughout the past week. Dr. Jones reads our briefs out loud, corrects them and then sends them off to the “Eagle Eye

Blog 1/29/09
It’s getting a couple weeks into the semester now and classes are great. I’m really enjoying Dr. Henner’s Global Crime and International Justice Class. I’m actually getting ready to take part in a new program opening up here at Embry-Riddle. Starting next semester the GSIS degree program will be adding Pre-Law as an area of concentration for students who are interested in Law School. Once I graduate with this area of concentration I will be applying to Columbia and Stanford Law School to get my masters in International Law. For some prospective students, this program could be a selling point.
So what else is going on here on campus? Today we had a campus bon fire. The school puts together a big event with food, a huge fire and even a DJ. All of us students had a great time hanging out with our friends while freezing in the 28 degree weather. Spring break is coming up soon; everyone has all sorts of plans. Some of the GSIS students are heading out to Washington D.C. with Professor Baker. They have all sorts of tours and presentations available from agencies like the CIA, DIA and the Dept of State. I have applied for a scholarship to take part in this program. If selected I know we will all have a great time.
Well, I’m not going to lie; classes are becoming more and more difficult. I’m enrolled in all Junior and senior classes this semester. I can count on anywhere between 3-4 hours of homework a night, but the positive side is that all the homework is specialized and very specific to my interests. So if you’re thinking about the GSIS program, don’t worry, even know there a lot of homework, the time goes by quickly and painlessly. Well I’m getting ready to take off to CA to hit the surf for the weekend. Untill next time!
Brett Watts

Start of Spring 09′

Blog 01.12.09
So it is now the beginning of the spring 2009 semester and I am now officially a sophomore in the GSIS program. The weather out here is definitely not what I’ve been used to growing up in southern California. Over Christmas break I spent nearly the entire time in the surfing the CA coast. I came back to a frozen and bitterly cold Prescott. I can’t really complain though, the weather is actually nice and when it occasionally snows it keeps the scenery interesting.
With the new semester come new classes, professors and experiences. My classes this semester consist of Chinese 4, Global Crime and International Justice, Islam: Origins and History, Intelligence Writing and Briefing, and Social Psychology. All of these classes are part of the GSIS core studies and general education. As stated before, the positive thing about ERAU is the courses that are offered for your specific major. The classes are so specific that once a person graduates they will have all the nessacary tools to compete in the work field.
I’ll give a brief description of some of the curriculum my classes entail. Chinese (as you know if you’ve read my previous blogs) mostly consists of writing and speaking practice. Each day we cover a new dialogue in the textbook and converse on everyday topics with our professor. Global Crime and International Justice is taught by Dr. Henner. This class is interesting to say the least. We mostly talk about laws and the criminal justice system’s flaws and imperfections. We also spend a lot of time talking about why some laws are in effect and the positive outcome they possess. In Islam: Origins and History, Dr. Jones teaches us about the prophet Mohammed and his part in the Islam religion. Social Psychology is very interesting in that we do actual experiments to test how people react socially. For example, we are assigned to litter in a parking lot, then sit back and observe how many people will bend down and pick up the trash and throw it away. The results always vary depending on the type of people who walk by (Military personnel, Professors, Etc.)
In my previous blogs I wrote about my experiences in China. I had such a positive impression that I am heading back at the end of April to once again participate in the Study Abroad program. Due to the extensive language training I’ve had, this time I will be acting somewhat as a teacher’s aide. When other students are taking beginner Chinese, I will be around Beijing making arrangements for our activities. This year we are going to Beijing, Xi’an, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. After the initial program Dr. Jones is offering to take a group of students to Tibet. I will definitely be making that excursion with him to the city of Lhasa.
Extra Curricular activities continue here as normal. An example would be the Chinese New Year celebration in Phoenix. A group of students from my Chinese class will be heading down there to take part in the festivities. Another example is the Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold concert coming to Phoenix at the end of the month. These are just examples of activities Embry-Riddle students do to unwind from the stresses of college life. Well speaking of college life, I better get to studying. Until next time…

Things to do around Prescott

Well I haven’t had much time to write lately so I’ll pull you up to speed. The semester started in the end of August. I live on campus and enjoying every minute of school. A great thing about attending ERAU is how the classes are focused intently on your specific major. For example, I am a GSIS major and these are my classes: Chinese 3, Creative Writing, Forensic Science, Forensics Lab, Computer Applications, and Geography. All of these courses will prove their worth in my future career.
Originally I was a Daytona Beach student planning on majoring in Homeland Security. Most people get the idea their head that Daytona is a much more interesting campus. In some ways it might be, but I’ll give you some examples of things I’ve done around Prescott. Prescott is in the mountains so if you plan on going anywhere besides the city you can count on having to drive, it’s just the way it is. Outside of Prescott there are plenty of things to do.
One day my suitemates and I decided we were bored so we headed off to the nearby city of Sedona to go cliff diving. Sedona is a small tourist city situated on a plateau of red cliffs. There were plenty of people from NAU and ASU hanging out and partying at the river where the cliff diving takes place. On another occasion we decided to take the 1 ½ hour drive to go to a Weezer concert down in Phoenix. There are many things that I haven’t listed due to the fact that I have homework and a life to lead, but you get the idea.
In addition to external activities, the school also puts on a lot student functions like dances, concerts and sporting events. These functions are usually top notch and there is a lot of effort put into the planning and executing of the event. Between the occasional school function and outside activity you can definitely find things to do around this area. Well I’m off to forensics now. I’ll be writing more soon.
Brett Watts

Final Foriegn Language Institute

So the Foreign Language Institute is officially over. I’ll recap on some of the activities we did in the last week. We had an opportunity to spend time with native Chinese speakers while cooking authentic Chinese food. Zhan Lao Shi brought her friends up to the Spruance house and we spent the day cooking, eating and chatting in Chinese. Many of us learned how to cook fried rice (or 炒饭). We also excelled in our ability to speak about or likes and dislikes and also current events.
The last couple days of class were intense to say the least. We went through an entire chapter of work out of the textbook every other day, which means that every other day we had a 100+ point test. Our final consisted of 3 parts, written, listening and an oral presentation. Our written test was at least 4 pages long and was written entirely in characters. The listening section was a dialogue Zhan Lao Shi read about changing subways and using all forms of public transportation. The oral presentation was done in small groups. We had to come up with a dialogue involving all the things we had learned up until then. The presentation had to be technically sound and yet we were encouraged to make it humorous. These tests all proved to be difficult.
In the end I was able to greatly increase my Chinese language abilities and receive a high grade in the class. For anyone who is interested in taking Chinese as a foreign language I would greatly recommend it. Both Chen Lao Shi and Zhan Lao Shi are excellent teachers who want to see their students succeed. For now,

Foriegn Language Institute cont.

Chinese language is anything but simple. I’m going on my 4th week of the Chinese Foreign Language Institute. As a GSIS major, foreign language plays a large part in my degree. In addition the Graduate program I plan on entering into at George Washington University requires fluency in foreign languages, so here I am. I actually really do enjoy the class. Zhan lao shi (translation- Professor Zhan) is a great teacher who has a strong desire to see us succeed. On Saturday the 19th our class will be going on a trip to the Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix. It is a nice break from the monotony of class, day after day.
Professor Zhan and her assistants often plan things like this to keep us interested. We have lessons on Chinese paintings, ordering food and Chinese culture regularly. We only have two weeks left. I’m looking forward to an actual “summer break

Experiences with the Foriegn Language Institute

June 30, 2008-
You know how occasionally you meet a person who just isn’t happy with doing the normal day to day things. They constantly study to keep that 4.0 and never allow themselves to slack off just a little bit. Well, for one reason or another I turned out to be that kind of person.
I graduated from Norco High School in southern California a semester early, so being my normal self there was no way I was going to just sit back and let that time go by. I signed up for Riddle’s study abroad program in the People’s Republic of China. I spent a month there studying the language and culture of the Chinese people. The trip was a once in a life time experience for me. I was impacted by the amount of knowledge there was right in front of me, at the edge of my finger tips. Unfortunately, as always good things must come to an end. I returned from China on the day my high school graduating class walked to receive their diplomas, so I joined them. I had a single day back at home in the States and then I was off again. This time I found myself in the beautiful but, blistering Prescott, Arizona.
So here I am, once again enrolled in a Chinese course. I am here for the Summer B Intensive Foreign Language Institute. I cannot even begin to describe the amount of information Zhan Lao Shi (Professor Zhan) is shoveling into our heads. Day after day we show up at 9 A.M. for the normal classroom session. We learn all about pronunciation, pin yin, and Chinese characters. In China I picked up a lot of the street language, you know, like the stuff you absolutely need to survive, such as: Zhege shi shenme (what is that?!?!) or Cesuo zai nar? (Where is the bathroom?) But now I find myself deciphering what looks to me like a code, such as this: 你好 我