Written by Mary Krauss. Media by Allyson Mitchell.
When I first came to Greenville, I had never met someone from another country. I was home-schooled my entire life so there was never an opportunity for me to be able to meet someone who wasn’t from the US. Greenville University has a substantial percentage of international students, and soon I met people from China, Canada, the DR, and many other places. I not only met these individuals but formed amazing friendships with them. These friends of mine, their cultures, and their languages are all so beautiful to me.
I was thinking about how often people say, “There are seven billion people in the world so it shouldn’t be hard to make friends,” but I realized, no, actually we’re not able to make friends with half of the world’s population if we cannot communicate with them. The language with the most native speakers, Chinese, is only spoken by 1.2 billion people and, though that’s a huge number, it is still not half of the world’s population.
Without deliberate study devoted to learning about languages and culture, our communication is so limited. I realized after learning this that I have the perfect opportunity to learn languages and to learn about the culture behind them right here at this university. At this early stage in my life, my mind is able to absorb the information needed to acquire another language.
So I started with Spanish classes, but I wasn’t sure how to get involved in other languages. At the All College Hike, I learned about the free Chinese lessons in the library that just recently started being offered. Of course, I was interested because I think that it is so important to embrace new opportunities. If you’re interested like I am, then go to the third floor of the library (the floor above the main floor) on Monday nights at 8:20 p.m. The lessons are taught by Dr. Kang and usually last until around 10:00 p.m. Again, they are completely FREE. The only material you need is an app called Hello Chinese that is also free to download. The structure is basically just learning how to use vocab. Each week you start out with a review of last week’s words followed by a new group of vocab. Talking to each other is the main form of learning. Repeating pronunciation over and over and being able to be corrected by someone who speaks Chinese is a million times more helpful than trying to learn from a program online.
The structure of these lessons involves basically just learning how to use vocab. Each week starts out with a review of the previous week’s words followed by a new group of vocab. Talking to each other is the main form of learning. Repeating pronunciation over and over and being corrected by someone who speaks Chinese is infinitely more helpful than trying to learn from a program online.
Victoria Han (한예진) is one of the people who has started attending these Chinese lessons. Han says, “It’s basically formatted like a club for learning Chinese. It’s all at your own pace and based on your own interest and study. It’s a good introduction to the language before completely diving into a fully loaded class.” As she said, the class is at your own pace so you don’t have to worry about more homework to do or receiving a grade. Participation is based on your interest.
If you’re interested in embracing the opportunity to communicate with the rest of the world, then this is for you. Again, these are fee Chinese lessons on the third floor of the library from 8:20 p.m.-10:00 p.m. on Monday nights.