WALLA WALLA, Wash.-- Ten Whitman students are currently immersed in the Chinese language and culture at Yunnan University, Kunming, China.
The students are enrolled in the Whitman Summer Studies in China program, a six-week academic program administered by Whitman in cooperation with Yunnan University, which began May 25 and runs through July13. The purpose of the program is to give students an opportunity to study conversational Chinese intensely in an environment where it can be put immediately into practice, as well as a chance to learn first-hand about Chinese culture and contemporary society by living and studying there. Students study at Yunnan University’s Center for Chinese Studies, which specializes in teaching Chinese as a second language and hosts about 200 foreign students per year.
The summer 2006 program is co-directed by Phil Brick, professor of politics at Whitman, and Susan Holme Brick, director of international programs at the college. One of the most successful aspects so far, according to Susan Brick, may be the language partners. “Students are paired with English majors at Yunnan University who are supposed to speak Chinese with their Whitman counterparts to give them practice speaking Chinese and do things socially with their peers. The Chinese students this year are very enthusiastic and many of our students seem to be developing great friendships with them.”
In addition to the Chinese language portion of the program, the students have seen a variety of guest speakers including briefings by the Shanghai EPA, the staff of the Wildlife Conservation Society (an NGO in Shanghai), a Yunnan University economist, the director of the Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Studies in Kunming, and a Yunnan University professor of tourism.
The group began the final travel portion of the program July 1, and will visit the Dongba Museum, spend a night with local farm families, visit a Tibetan monastery, tour rural Tibetan villages and school, visit the Great Wall, receive a briefing on US-China relations at the US Embassy and visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Baihai Park before returning home on July 13.
CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156