Please click to view program highlights and photos: Summer in China 2015
The Chinese Studies Program Morehouse College
2014 Summer China Study Abroad Program
Many 10, 2014-June 6, 2014
Dr. Ruihua Shen
2014 Summer China Study Abroad Program (5/10/2014-6/6/2014) Director’s Report
The Chinese Studies Program at Morehouse College recently concluded its intensive four-week Chinese language study and culture immersion program in China. A total of eleven Morehouse students participated in the program, from May 10 to June 6, 2014, accompanied by program director Dr. Ruihua Shen and Professor Mark Levine. The students spent three weeks studying Chinese language and culture at Shanghai University, and then travelled to cultural and historic sites in Shandong province and Beijing for the last week of the program.
The study program provided the students with intensive language classes and tutorials, as well as cultural immersion through travel and weekly cultural activities. Students attended Chinese class every day for three and a half hours in the morning, and then met with Chinese language partners (one on one or one on two) for a two-hour individual language tutorial in the afternoon. Thus, each day our students had over five hours of Chinese instruction and speaking practice. The students were given daily quizzes and a comprehensive final exam. Students’ made great strides in reading and writing, and their listening and speaking skills improved substantially as well. The students have all noted that the intensive classes and tutorials enabled them to make significant advances in Chinese learning.
Complementing their formal Chinese language curriculum, students visited cultural and historic sites, and enjoyed artistic performances. For example, the students visited the famous Yu Yuan garden in Shanghai, the Shanghai Museum, Sun Yatsen’s former Residence Museum, The Chinese Propaganda Poster Museum, and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong area. In addition, they visited the old city of Suzhou, where they explored the iconic Master of Nets Garden as well as the I.M. Pei-designed Suzhou Museum. While in Shanghai, students also attended special events such as a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, a Chinese calligraphy class, a boat cruise on the Huangpu River, and an acrobatic show. All these activities enable students to study Chinese society and cultural from various aspects and angles.
Upon concluding the intensive language program at Shanghai University, the Program travelled to Shandong province for two days, and then to Beijing for three days. In Shandong, the study group visited the town of Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, to have a tour of the Confucian Temple complex, the Confucian family mansion, as well as Confucius’ tomb and the cemetery park of his family descendants. During this tour, students learned more about Confucius’ life and his teachings, as well as the profound influence of his philosophy and thought on Chinese culture. The next day, the study group travelled to the town of Tai’an to visit Mt. Tai, one of China’s five sacred mountains. Students enjoyed the experience of climbing the mountain and the beautiful scenery of the surroundings. They also learned about the ritual pilgrimages associated with the mountain.
In Beijing, the study group visited many famous cultural and historical sites, such as: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven. In addition, the students visited the Great Wall at Juyong Pass, and climbed to the highest point of this section of the Wall. This was a very exciting experience, indeed. In Beijing, students also took a tour of the traditional Hutong areas (alley neighborhoods with courtyard style homes) and visited a family residence in one of the oldest Hutong (alley) neighborhoods in Beijing.
In conclusion, the study program was very successful and rewarding for our students; for many students, this was their first time visiting China, and it gave them a deeper personal understanding of Chinese culture and society. While at Shanghai University, they studied diligently and developed friendships with their Chinese student-tutors, and they also explored various parts of Shanghai. Lastly, during their final week of travelling, they visited some of China’s most famous historical and cultural sites. This program has given our students an immersion in the Chinese language as well as an unforgettably rich cultural experience.
Ruihua Shen. Ph.D.
Director of the Chinese Studies Program Morehouse College