September 12, 2013
24 students took Chinese classes at the Center in Beijing during the 2013 Summer Session Chinese Language Program. In its third year at the Center and sixth year overall, the Graham School-led program combined morning classes taught by UChicago Chinese teachers Youqin Wang and Fangpei Cai with afternoon small-group sessions led by local instructors. Participants also engaged with the language through field trips, sessions with language practice partners, and independent exploration of Beijing and wider China. This year’s program brought together two non-UChicago undergraduates, one UChicago PhD student, and 21 students in the College for intensive language learning.
Professor Cai led students to major tourist sites as part of the summer’s introduction to Chinese culture. The group visited the Summer Palace; the Great Wall; Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park; the National Museum of China; and the Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, and Temple of Heaven. The students also attended a Chinese opera show at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Professor Wang led students on the summer program’s third annual trip to the Rural Women’s School, which trains girls from disadvantaged areas in key skills; UChicago participants met administrators and talked with local students.
In addition to taking Chinese classes, the students also heard Professor Dali Yang speak at the Center on environmental and political issues in contemporary China; worked on their calligraphy skills; went on a behind-the-scenes tour of Beijing’s Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology with UChicago biologist Zhe-Xi Luo; and enjoyed sampling various Chinese regional cuisines across Beijing.
The group attended the Center’s annual summer reception for UChicago alumni, students, and interns in China, where alums spoke about postgraduate academic and career paths in Asia. The students marked the end of the quarter with a talent show, and also continued previous years’ tradition of producing a Chinese-language souvenir yearbook full of reflections, photos, and stories from the eight-week program.