Study abroad, campus speakers give Transylvania students in-depth knowledge of Chinese language, culture

Along with today’s traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, Transylvania University students have cause to celebrate their school’s connections to China.

Through study abroad opportunities and campus events, they are able to go beyond book learning to get real-world experience of Chinese language and culture.

For instance, a Chinese New Year event on Friday will feature a screening of the movie “Raise the Red Lantern” and an information session on scholarships for studying in China.

These scholarship opportunities include funding to attend summer school at Shanghai University. Another is the prestigious and competitive Critical Language Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program that covers all expenses for study in China. A Transylvania student won a CLS scholarship for China in 2016—and another is currently a semifinalist for the award.

By traveling to China, these students learn things they can’t glean from a textbook. “They really need to see with their own eyes what’s happening in China and how the economy and culture are working and changing day by day,” said Qian Gao, associate professor of Chinese language and culture. “Ever year there is something new.”

In addition to study abroad, Transy students also benefit from speakers who visit campus to discuss Chinese culture. Earlier this school year, Morton Holbrook III, a longtime foreign service officer and former U.S. consul general in China, gave students a personal account of his 32 years as a diplomat, and he outlined the changing contours of U.S.-China relations. Other events will include a visit by Ka Zeng, a University of Arkansas professor who researches how political policies affect the U.S. and Chinese economies.

Transy students also can minor in Chinese—and they have opportunities to showcase their language skills. For instance, Hayle Hall ‘21 and Moira Hedrick ‘20 recently won a Juhe Supplement magazine competition and will have their poetry and prose published in April.