Schol­ars help in­ter­na­tion­al­ize US cam­puses, Ful­brights told

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

with a car to get around.

So far, Sun has vis­ited the Great Smoky Moun­tains and the his­toric sea­side city of Charleston. She mar­vels at the beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment, the fresh air and lush green­ery, as well as what she de­scribed as “south­ern hos­pi­tal­ity”.

“Peo­ple are very nice and po­lite,” she said. “Ev­ery­one likes to say, ‘Yes, ma’am.’”

Sun said that her English lan­guage skills have im­proved thanks to the fre­quent in­ter­ac­tions with stu­dents and fac­ulty as well as her lo­cal host fam­ily which she has met with at least twice a month.

“I have also learned a lot about Amer­i­can cul­ture, which I am go­ing to share with my stu­dents back in China,” she said.

Sun be­lieves that teach­ing Chi­nese for the first time has also helped her to hone her Chi­nese lan­guage skills.

Sun is one of 39 Chi­nese FLTAs this year, among a to­tal of 400 from 50 coun­tries at­tend­ing a mid-year workshop Dec 12-13 in Wash­ing­ton DC.

Chen Shenggu, an English lan­guage teacher from Hainan Nor­mal Univer­sity in China’s is­land prov­ince of Hainan, agreed that Amer­i­can stu­dents at Bos­ton Univer­sity where he teaches now are very proac­tive and pas­sion­ate about learn­ing Chi­nese.

“It makes my teach­ing all the more ex­cit­ing be­cause of this mu­tual sup­port be­tween stu­dents and teach­ers,” he said, adding that the flex­i­bil­ity in teach­ing in the US has also al­lowed him to bring more of his skills into play.

“Chi­nese stu­dents are much more re­served and you have to stick strictly to the cur­ricu­lum re­quire­ments,” Chen said.

While Chen be­lieves he now has some fresh ideas on how to en­liven his class­room back in China, he also ad­mits it might be a cul­ture thing.

Chen likes the in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment in Bos­ton and said he has spent a lot of time writ­ing es­says about his cross­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

Zhao Xiaoyan, an English lan­guage teacher from In­ner Mon­go­lia Nor­mal Univer­sity, said she likes the tran­quil­ity of the Univer­sity of Notre Dame. “It’s not that crowded and is very quiet,” said Zhao.

Zhao said she has spent a lot of time in­ter­act­ing with stu­dents and fac­ulty. In her spare time, she works out at the gym. “It has ev­ery­thing,” she said.

Zhao said she is also look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of pur­su­ing a PhD in lit­er­a­ture in the US in the fu­ture. “I have not de­cided yet,” she said.

Evan Ryan, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for ed­u­ca­tion and cul­tural af­fairs, praised the FLTAs for the way they “in­ter­na­tion­al­ize our US cam­puses”.

“You all bring Amer­i­can stu­dents the gift of your lan­guage, cul­ture, and at the same time, I hope you have a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence while you’re here in the United States,” she told the FLTAs on Thurs­day.

More than 11,000 US stu­dents at 213 US col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are learn­ing 29 lan­guages from this year’s FLTA co­hort, from Chi­nese and Ara­bic to Rus­sian and Swahili.

SUN CHENBEI / CHINA DAILY

English lan­guage teach­ers Chen Shenggu (left) from Hainan Nor­mal Univer­sity and Sun Ying from North­west­ern Polytech­ni­cal Univer­sity in China at­tend a midyear workshop for Ful­bright For­eign Lan­guage Teach­ing As­sis­tants in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day.

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