This is the third day since we arrived at Xiamen University. Some of us have already started overcoming the jet lag and were able to really jump right into the Chinese language and cultural immersion that we came here for.
Students started off their day with breakfast at the university dining hall, then went directly to their first Chinese language class of the summer. They spent the morning getting to know their teachers and classmates and learning new vocabulary to talk about themselves and about Xiamen.
But the main event of the day was the group’s on-site orientation. Xiamen University’s vice president Xinli Zhan presented a warm welcome speech, expressing the university’s excitement for our visit and pride in working with the UD NSLI-Y program: “It’s certainly a pleasure to have you as our friends and as young ambassadors of the American people, who traveled a long way from the other side of the Pacific to visit and study at our beautiful university… We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to work on this important project that would certainly contribute to the understanding of and friendship between China and the United States.” Other excellent speeches of introduction, welcome, and gratitude were made by UD NSLI-Y Director Dr. Jianguo Chen as well as Carrie Kemmet (凯丽), who used her Chinese skills to represent the NSLI-Y students and thank the university representatives in attendance for their support and the opportunity to study here at Xiamen University
NSLI-Y student representative Carrie Kemmet thanking XMU representatives
Group photo with the Vice President of XMU, Madam Xinlin Zhan and XMU representatives
In addition to finally receiving their official welcome, the students also had the opportunity to choose which interest groups they would like to participate in over the course of their five weeks in Xiamen. These interest groups are cultural classes that will change each week; they include calligraphy, Chinese dance, tai chi, and Chinese yo-yo.
Exploring Chinese land and people in Dr.Chen’s lecture
The students returned to class in the afternoon, first attending Dr. Chen’s lecture, which introduced the Chinese land and people, discussing topics from China’s topography to its many diverse ethnic groups. From there, they divided back into their language classes for further study and for tutoring time with student volunteers from Xiamen University. The students had such a good time learning and laughing with their tutors and each other that many of them did not even realize when it was time to leave for dinner!