Chinese Language and Culture Classes Schedule Fall 2012

We are very excited to announce that several classes in Chinese language and culture will be offered to UD community in the Fall 2012 semester. As we are finalizing the schedule, any student, faculty, staff, alumni who are interested in the classes may register online by complete this online registration form.

Please note that if you are interested in taking classes with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Wilmington, please contact OLLI directly.

Questions? Email

NSLI-Y Group Extracurricular

This is the last week in Shanghai. Besides our regular classes, we have very rich and colorful extracurricular activities. Here are some of the things we did.

On August 3, we had our Kongfu class in the afternoon. We were thrilled to learn tailor sitting, horse stance strike, and five steps of ShaoLin boxing from our master coach from Shao Lin Temple. Every movement he made was extraordinarily fantastic.

Here is the our group picture with “Master ShiFu”. 

The next day, we celebrated Riley and Claire’s birthday. There was plenty of birthday cake which made us happy.

On August 6, we went to the do most popular activity in China, Karaoke. After the “Professional Training”, our students can sing several Chinese songs.  We had lots of fun learning Chinese songs.

NSLI-Y Student Writings: Experiencing China (Part 2)

NSLI-Y students wrote about their experience and understanding toward China, it’s people, culture, language and many more. See a few more articles from them:

Jake D.: Individuality in China and the U.S.

“Compared to the West, Chinese culture places more value on unity and conformity. Chinese choose to reflect the views of their leaders and ancient traditions rather than their own personal views. Americans on the other hand seek independence, pursuing personal goals above the goals of society. As such, China can be described as a collectivist society, while the U.S. is more individualist.” [Read more…]

Halla B.: Yang Er Fang Lao

“Traditional Chinese culture involves many short sayings that represent ideals of life.  One of these is “yang er fang lao”, or the idea that a family should have many children to take care of the parents in their old age.  ” [Read more…]

Clementine G.: Wu Shu

“Before this trip, I only knew about Kong Fu, which is the Cantonese term Westerners use for Wu Shu. I didn’t know that in the 1960’s, the Chinese government gathered some masters of various styles of martial arts to modernized and synthesized one style so that Wu Shu could be considered a national sport.” [Read more…]

Malin F.My Cross-Cultural Experience in China

“I’ve been taking Chinese language for the past 3 years of high school. I’ve seen Chinese movies and eaten Chinese food. Yet nothing truly prepared me for the reality of living and breathing Chinese culture that I have had the opportunity to discover this summer. Lots of things have shocked me over the course of this trip….” [Read more…]

Brydon Q.: Chinese Calligraphy

“The fact that I had no ink and calligraphy paper hindered me from completed the desired task. Since I have never written Chinese calligraphy, I decided to buy a calligraphy set in China and bring it home to practice at home.” [Read more…]

Delmar T.: My Experience with Chinese Culture

“All throughout my stay in China I’ve seen Chinese people wearing shirts with English words on them, college students playing soccer with Western-brand cleats, American music coming from speakers. The U.S. and China, are miles apart, with amazingly different populations, and histories, but are still just nations, with people that are very much the same. ” [Read more…]

Tim B.: Perceptions of China: The People

 “I originally thought that everywhere I went I would be the stereotypical fat American who eats too much and thinks the world revolves around him, what I found was quite the opposite. The people didn’t make any assumptions about me at all, in fact, they really wanted to get real information about my life. ” [Read more…]

Eric H.: What I have learned from the culture

This program greatly immersed me in the Chinese culture which I had little knowledge about. This greatly enriched me learning and understanding and it really opened my eyes. It made me look at different races through a different perspective. Doing that made me really happy about that.” [Read more…]

NSLI-Y Student Writings: Experiencing China (Part 1)

The NSLI-Y group’s China experience is approaching to the end. What did the students see? What did they hear? Did the trip inspire them to look at China from a different perspective? What culture elements do they think the most interesting? Let’s hear what they say.

Rohan D: An Eye Opener: Western Misconceptions of China

“Ever since I have arrived in China, every day has been an eye-opener. Through a combination of lectures from my teachers and my experiences with real Chinese society, I have come to the conclusion that the western world doesn’t have an accurate representation of Chinese culture and society.” [Read more….]

Johanna N.L: Learning Chinese Painting

“We painted orchids, beginning with a more simple, practice orchid, and then moving onto a more challenging piece. It was amazing to see that this talent that looks so easy, and these paintings—even ones that look so simple—actually require a tremendous amount of skill and practice. ” [Read more…]

Phoebe N.: China Through A Lens

“This despair is a different kind of beauty. A beauty I rarely see in America and a beauty that defines China for me. Even though China is a rich country with poor people, the people come together in a way which defies their pains.” [Read more…]

 TommyLee E.: Tea in China

“Tea has not only been a useful  addition to Chinese culture but a vital addition giving a new meaning to the importance food culture has on a civilization. Thousands of years ago people drank tea and today we are lucky to enjoy the same amenities.” [Read more…]

 Ryan L.: Cultural Reflection

“…Here in China, it is on such a large and successful scale that not only does it provide a small incentive for the rising middle-class to recycle, but it also allows those who have nothing to create something for themselves, to survive by depending on their own hands and feet. ” [Read more…]

 Jay P.:

“The Chinese people are very happy with their current living situation I think, even though some Americans believe that under Communism rule, the people cannot live freely and comfortably. After I experienced the home stay, I learnt otherwise.” [Read more…]

 Claire L.: 

“Staying with my host family, I learned a lot about the rigorous academic life of an average Chinese student. Talking with my host sister, the differences between the American and Chinese educational system seemed quite extreme.” [Read more…]

Lauren L.:

“The homestay experience was certainly eye opening. I often found myself comparing their lifestyle to my own back in Oklahoma. Many aspects are the same such as importance of family, and the emphasis the parents put on their child’s schoolwork. But some of the biggest contrasts I found were how the family chose to spend their time together, meal preparations, and the overall style and layout of the house. ” [Read more…]

Nicky D.: The Art of Calligraphy

At first I didn’t understand why it was necessary to be able to write one character in so many ways… isn’t normal Chinese hard enough? But then I learned more about the reasons for the different styles. ” [Read more…]

Emma L.: Chinese Art

“…our teacher demonstrated the techniques of Chinese painting. This sealed my understanding of Chinese art work, the way his hands flowed at different rhythms and varied speeds with more pressure or less pressure was amazing. ” [Read more…]

NSLI-Y Group Visited Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Part 2)

(Continued from part 1) After lunch it was the culture exchange program. A teacher from Zhen Hua School demonstrated Chinese painting. The teacher finished a beautiful painting of lotus and presented to NSLI-Y as a gift. In the previous day Jake just learned how to paint orchid so he volunteered to paint. His Chinese painting performance was a highlight of the day and he painted an orchid as a culture exchange gift for Zhen Hua School in return.

Students watch teacher from Zhen Hua School demonstrating Chinese painting.

Zhen Hua Principal gives the painting to Dr. Chen as a gift to NSLI-Y.

Jake painted an orchid as an exchange gift from NSLI-Y to Zhen Hua School

Next it was a game session – I play and you guess. Participants paired up for the game. First a word would show up on the big screen. One participant facing the screen would use gesture and/or posture to describe the word without saying it out. The other participant with back to the screen would guess what word his or her partner was acting upon. Team who guessed the most words won. The challenging part of the game was the interpretation of both English and Chinese words. Sometimes students knew what their partners were doing in English but could not describe it in Chinese. However it was really fun. In the end, winners of the game received two paintings from the teachers of Zhen Hua School as prizes.

Students are having fun playing the game “I play and you guess”.

You play and I guess

Winners of the team who guessed the most word got a painting as souvenir.

Another winning team.

After game it was free play time and NSLI-Y students showed off their talents. Megan sang a Chinese nursery rhyme “Little Bunny” and it was really good. Next Nicky performed a popular Chinese song “The Mouse loves Rice”. Later Twelve students performed Taiji together. The NSLI-Y students only have taken less than six hours’ Taiji class but their performances were just like they’ve been praccting Taiji for long time.

Students perform group Taiji after only six hours of practice.

Taiji performance.

Last but not least, it was a reflection session. Delmar and Lauren talked about their experience with NSLI-Y in China in English. Rohan specifically talked about what he felt about China and this experience.

Around 3:00PM, the culture exchange program ended with a group picture on Zhen Hui campus. All students enjoyed the day.

(The end)

NSLI-Y Group Visited Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Part 1)

On August 2nd, the NSLI-Y group was invited to visit Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School (Zhen Hua School) located in Pudong District. Faculties and students from the School prepared an unique party for the students to experience lives in a Shanghai professional school.

Shanghai Zhen Hua Foreign Trade Professional School was established in 1985 and is a State-recognized Key School in the midst of the top secondary schools in Shanghai.The school offer classes in 16 majors and specialized fields. Now the school has enrolled near 3,800 students in 85 classes with 190 faculties and staff.

NSLI-Y students visited Zhen Hua School

Principal of Zhen Hua school, Mr. Yangxing Chen used to go to school together with and is an old friend of NSLI-Y’s director, Dr. Jianguo Chen. He planned the NSLI-Y group’s visit very thoughtfully. At 10:00 AM, the program officially kicked off in the Multipurpose Room of the school. Principal Chen made welcome speech and expressed his hope for more exchange programs between Chinese and American students like this in the future. Dr. Chen introduced the NSLI-Y program to Zhen Hua’s faculty and staff. Student representative Brydon spoke in Chinese to express appreciation to Zhen Hua School.

Principal of Zhen Hua School, Mr. Yangxing Chen, welcomed NSLI-Y students.

Dr. Chen, NSLI-Y Diector and Prof. Wang, Chinese teacher and life support coordinator, introduced NSLI-Y to Zhen Hua’s faculty and staff.

Student representative Brydon spoke in Chinese at the beginning of the program.

The theme of the program is “Taste of China”. On the big screen a recent popular documentary in China “A Bite of China” is playing. Two faculty members of Zhen Hua School introduced two famous dished in Chinese cuisine to all students in English: Yangzhou Fried Rice and Dongpo Pork. At first glance it seems both dishes are really simple. However they both have hundreds years of history and were created by famous historical figures.

Yangzhou Fried Rice was originated more than 1,400 years ago in Sui Dynasty. It is said that Duke Yang Su, a powerful general in the Chu Region really liked fried rice with eggs, bacons and vegetables. Emperor Yang of Sui later brought the dish to City of Yangzhou when he was inspecting the region. Later on various of recipes of the fried rice were developed and Yangzhou Fried Rice became a popular dish and a trademark for Yangzhou.

Zhen Hua’s teacher introduced the history and recipe of Yangzhou Fried Rice

Dongpo Pork was named after Su Dongpo, a renowned artist and writer in Song Dynasty 950 years ago. Su invented the dish and it was also his personal favorite. From stories of the two dishes students got an idea of the rich history and characteristics of Chinese cuisine and food culture. Learning about the stories also make the tasting of food more fun.

Zhen Hua’s teacher introduced the history and receipe of Dongpo Pork

Next, teachers from Zhen Hua School demonstrated food carving and baking techniques. They made phoenix, gold fishes, peaches out of flour and vegetables. The food looked so vivid and exquisite! Students wanted to try themselves after watching the demonstration too. Tim, Jay and Megan made some really nice “gold fishes” using flour! Lastly, they got to taste the food. Zhen Hua School prepared 24 dishes for students. It was just an incredible feast for them!

Amazing food carving demonstration by Zhen Hua’s teachers.

A Phoenix made out of radish and carrots

Beautiful Phoenix dish made out of vegetables.

Gold fish dumplings

Tim and Jay are so proud of the gold fish dumplings they made out from scratch.

Megan and Tim are really good at making the gold fish dumplings.

Zhen Hua School provided a feast for NSLI-Y students.

(To be continued)

NSLI-Y Students Learned to Paint Orchids the Chinese Way

In the afternoon on August 1st, in the Chinese culture class, Professor Naishu Sun from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts at Fudan University taught students how to paint orchids the Chinese way – using brush and ink.

First Professor Sun introduced the differences between Chinese paintings and its Western counterparts. Besides different materials used for painting, the most significant aspect that differentiates Chinese painting from Western style is the concept behind it: Western paints emphasize on vivid and true-to-fact interpretation of the objects, while Chinese painting focuses on spiritual resemblance of the objects and a “freehand” way of interpretation.

Next, Professor Sun introduced the “Four Treasures of the Study” in Chinese culture and demonstrated the use of the “four treasures” in painting Chinese orchids. Students followed Professor Sun to paint orchids and they did great jobs. The paintings by Emma and Johanna even got appraises from Professor Sun for the idea of “spiritual resemblance”. It seemed many students have grasped the essence of Chinese painting. It was amazing. The group held their paintings and took pictures with Professor Sun.

Dr. Chen and Prof. Sun from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts introduced Chinese painting to students.

Students watch Prof. Sun paint.

Emma’s and Johanna’s paintings were ones of those selected by Prof. Sun from all students’ paintings.

Jake’s orchid is a good one too.

A super genius artistic group!

Dragon Up: Governor’s School for Excellence Students Experience Chinese Culture

In collaboration with the Delaware Governor’s School for Excellence, the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware (UDCI) presented a “China Night” program for more than 120 Delaware high school students on Thursday July 19, 2012.

It is the second year that UDCI organized the “China Night” program for the Governor’s School for Excellence.  This year’s theme was “Dragon Up“, signifying the year of dragon (2012) in Chinese culture, as well as the program’s participants – a group of promising high school rising juniors, who represent their schools for their extraordinary abilities in scholarly studies, art, music and theatre.

At 6:00 pm in the evening the Governor’s School’s students lined up in the hallway in Pancader Hall on UD’s north campus, each receiving a “passport” to register various cultural activities to experience and tasks to complete during the program. “China Night” started with a brief presentation by the program organizer, including a 10-minute video about China, followed by several performances including Chinese folk dance, Kung Fu, Music, Chinese painting and calligraphy demonstrations.

UDCI’s visiting volunteer teacher Ms. Ye Yan demonstrated Chinese painting

In the next two hours, the students were divided into six groups to experience six Chinese culture categories of music, dance, painting and calligraphy, food, martial arts, and games.  They competed individually in each category for their knowledge of Chinese culture and for successfully completing related cultural learning tasks. Students with the highest scores collected on their passports were awarded with Chinese-style souvenirs and prizes.

This year the Confucius Institute staff introduced four different types of traditional Chinese music instruments, including Chinese zither (Gu Zheng), Er Hu, flute and Hulusi to students and for them to experience and learn. Members of the Dragonfly Dance Club, a registered UD student club, performed at the beginning of the program a traditional dance, which was inspired by a famous poem written 1,300 years ago in Tang Dynasty. Students also had a lot of fun trying to match up dance costumes from several ethnic minority groups in China, such as the Tibetan, Yi, Miao and Dai.

Students watch UDCI’s staff play Er Hu, a popular traditional Chinese instrument.

Governor’s School students dance in Chinese minority groups’ costumes.

In the painting and calligraphy section, students learned to draw pandas and bamboos using water and ink from Ms. Ye Yan, a visiting scholar from Xiamen University in China. They also applied their knowledge of the Chinese language to the writing and guessing of simple Chinese characters by practicing the use of Chinese brushpen with Ms. Chang Gao, CI’s student assistant.

Student watches Ms. Chang Gao, UDCI’s student assistant, write Chinese characters using brushpen.

Martial Arts demonstration was presented in the hallway as students needed more space to do Taiji poses and practice the combat style Shaolin Kung Fu kicks. Students learned to appreciate the essence of Chinese martial arts – a harmonious co-existence of the hard and the soft, an art of opposing and yielding, from the martial arts instructors Mr. Adrian Lee (Kung Fu) and Ms. Tingting Sun (Taiji).

Students follow Ms. Tingting Sun, UDCI’s visiting volunteer teacher, to perform Taiji.

Chinese food corner was surrounded by crowds of students who were learning how to make traditional Xiamen style spring rolls and edible “flowers” with cucumber, carrot, radish and oranges.

Mr. Walter Hu, UDCI’s friend, introduced Chinese food to all students. He made the food for the program.

In the Chinese game section, students competed with each other in their skills of using chopsticks and targeting at a two-dragon-playing-with-a-pearl graph drawn by Yizhu Tang, a Confucius Institute student assistant.

Students use chopsticks to pick up M&M beans.

The program ended with a quick fire questions session where students distinguished loan words in the Chinese language from English and recognize the Chinese elements which appeared in popular American films. Students enthusiastically participated in the session as it was the last chance for them to win bonus points on their “passports” for prizes.

“This is something that’s really fun. I didn’t even look at my watch in the whole three hours,” one Governor’s school student told Ms. Carrie Fang, program coordinator of the Confucius Institute and the organizer of the event. More than twenty UD students, alumni, visiting scholars and friends of the Confucius Institute participated in the program, contributing to the success of “China Night”.

Staff and student members of UDCI worked at  the “China Night” program.

Photos by Kun Xia