I'm currently taking an intensive language course in a Beijing university and, as of late, I've incurred some difficulties, namely that the course itself is providing to be a challenge to me. As background, before this experience I had studied Chinese electively during my undergraduate in mathematics for a year and a half (which meant I could only study around 3 hours of classes per week). Upon arriving in Beijing I was placed in a "lower intermediate class" but the issue with this class was that I felt too comfortable with it; so recently I decided to switch to the "upper intermediate class" suffice to say, though I hope I made the right choice, the level is certainly a step up and the students, likewise, have a better general level of, not only speaking, but reading and writing too. Indeed, at times I do feel out of my depth however I would think it's better to be challenged than to be sitting idle in a lower class, right or wrong? That is perhaps my first question.
My second question is more general, namely, how does one make the most of having classes everyday and being in China? Then a little more specific: what is the best way to improve one's writing? My writing is really abysmal, sometimes misplacing even simple characters in my head. I used to write a diary a few weeks ago but even that doesn't seem to help too much because I still encounter the same issues of memory loss with respect to characters. I do have classes everyday and, as such, am learning and trying to absorb masses of new information. I should be trying to learn those characters but it's hard to know where you draw the line (when am I trying to learn too many characters?).
I know I'm probably not making sense, but in short whilst I try to meet everyday with Chinese people, listen to Chinese music, watch Chinese shows as of yet I'm not sure whether I'm improving fast enough or whether I'm taking the right supplementary steps with my classes to achieve my goal of improving my Chinese or whether in fact it's simply a matter of time (I've only been here for a month and a half and still have ten left).