Starting Jan. 22, Ming Chuan University will be offering a six-week short course in Chinese language and culture.
There will be nine time slots for the class on Thursdays and Fridays.
Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend, as well as their families.
The classes will be free aside from a $20 deposit that will be refunded if the student attends at least four of the classes.
Everyone that completes the course will receive a certificate at the end of the classes.
Ming Chuan University, SVSU’s sister university, has offered these classes for several years and has had returning students who would like to brush up on their skills.
Many of the topics in the class will compare Western culture with Chinese culture. “When it comes to cultural difference, the fortune color in China is red, compared
to the Western world, like in Ireland, the fortune color is green,” said Chensi Wang, one of the student teachers. “Because SVSU has cultural diversity, we are concerned with teaching cultural differences in our classroom, as well.”
During many of their lessons, Ming Chuan teachers aim to challenge misconceptions about Chinese culture. For the lesson on food, the student teachers will be preparing traditional dishes for the class and comparing them to American versions.
“Sometimes we will compare American view of Chinese culture with the real thing, like Panda Express,” said Steven Liu, a student teacher. “Real Chinese food may not look like that and taste totally different.”
In the past, student teachers have used a lot of creative activities to help people learn, such as Monopoly games or other interactive events.
“If we talk about tea, we will have a ceremony to teach students how to make tea the Chinese way,” said Yambo Li, another
of the student teachers.
Some of the other topics that the classes will cover include introduction and greetings, traditional Chinese food, language for ordering in a restaurant or shopping, Chinese sports and language relating to people and family members.
Alan Hseih, an adjunct professor who organized the classes, hopes they will help students who travel or study abroad.
“If they travel and can order food in Mandarin, that will be awesome,” Hseih said.
Ming Chuan student teacher Charlize Wang stressed the importance of all students learning Chinese.
“There is a very huge Chinese population in America,” Wang said. “Even students that don’t travel will still have an opportunity to use Mandarin in local communities, like Chinese restaurants in Saginaw, and speak a few sentences to communicate with Chinese students.”
For Liu, the classes offer an opportunity to teach many students about China and show them that the language is learnable.
“I think my main goal is to let as many people have knowledge about Chinese language and culture as possible,” Liu said. “Some people may think it is difficult, but maybe they can give it a try and see if they like it and want to keep learning it.”
Student teacher Yuqing Lu agreed that learning Chinese isn’t as difficult as most people think.
“When most people hear they’re going to learn Chinese, they think it’s a very hard language, so we want them to learn that it’s a conquerable language for them,” she said.
The short course provides an opportunity for all students to learn about a different culture and experience new things.
Those who are interested in attending the classes can sign up at the Ming Chuan University offices or send an email to Chengsi Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporting from Maria Ranger, Reporter