Three UAPB students participate in virtual Mandarin course abroad
Debbie Archer | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Humanities
Three students from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff participated in a virtual study abroad course focused on learning the Mandarin language. The 14-week course was organized by the China US Exchange Foundation in collaboration with the China-HBCU network.
UAPB students have been nominated by Dr. Pamela D. Moore, Associate Dean for Global Engagement, Office of International Programs and Studies (OIPS), to participate in this first study abroad / learning course languages offered virtually at UAPB.
“We received a notification regarding this unique opportunity at the start of last semester, when we were generally engaged in the international student authorization processes. However, I made it a priority to get the word out to as many students as possible, ”said Dr. Moore. “Even during the pre-Covid-19 context, we have worked with the Department of English, Humanities and Foreign Languages to provide an introductory course for students planning to travel to China.”
Sadagicous Owens, a spring 2021 graduate in industrial technology management and applied engineering, said she took the course because of her fascination with learning another language, especially an Asian language.
“This course allowed me to meet the language requirements of my medical school,” she said. “Now I can say common greetings, use key targeted gestures, pronounce words correctly, and understand a new culture. “
Me’Auna Bailey, a junior in business administration and management, said she signed up for the course to get a glimpse into Asian culture.
“I am a sucker for my culture and the culture of others,” she said. “I love that I was taught the language, but I also got a glimpse of the culture.”
Digvijay Mohite is pursuing his master’s degree in agricultural regulation. He said he wanted to better understand global trade relations with China, trade wars, stock markets and the cultural differences between the two civilizations.
“As an international Indian student, I was able to see as a third person without any bias the real situation and understand each side much better,” he said. “(The course) helped me understand Chinese culture and the basic Chinese way of life while making new friends. I also got a feel for how the Chinese government works and the economic differences between the two nations. “
The virtual Mandarin course was taken by 26 HBCU students from seven universities, said Julia Wilson, CEO and founder of Wilson Global Communications USA. All students had to be enrolled in an HBCU and be a beginner in Mandarin. They submitted applications including a brief paragraph on their interest in learning Mandarin and Chinese culture. Students were to commit to virtually attending every class for the 14 weeks and meeting with tutors and group members to practice their Mandarin skills.
“The students were taking Mandarin lessons taught by a Chinese professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University,” Wilson said. “HBCU students also received Chinese student tutors to practice the language one-on-one. By the end of the course, they were able to conduct a conversation in Mandarin.
With travel restrictions made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Virtual Mandarin Course was a way to continue offering study abroad programs through the HBCU-China network that introduces HBCU students to the language. and Chinese culture, she said.
“With China being the second largest economy in the world, after the United States, we believe it is imperative that HBCU students have the opportunity to understand the Chinese language and meet their counterparts to build positive international relationships; become more competitive internationally; and help them in their future global leadership, ”Wilson said.
By engaging remotely, students were able to meet their foreign counterparts and have a study abroad experience this academic year without traveling, she said.
Dr Moore hopes the course will continue to be offered in the future.
“I certainly hope this virtual course will continue as the pilot course we introduced several years ago is no longer offered due to financial constraints,” said Dr. Moore. “Due to the complexity of the Chinese language and the differences between our society and that of China, students are better able to adapt once they are in the field in this country.
“Now that we hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope that we will again send students to China for language and cultural learning experiences,” she said. “
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its extension and research programs and services regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion , age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information or any other legally protected status, and is an affirmative action / equal opportunity employer.