Cultures Commingle in the Chinese Corner

The Chinese Corner gathered for a meeting. Photo Courtesy / Nia Scott
The Chinese Corner gathered for a meeting. Photo Courtesy / Nia Scott
The Chinese Corner gathered for a meeting.
Photo Courtesy / Nia Scott

By Nia Scott
SC Contributing Writer

The Chinese Corner, a club where Chinese students can meet and interact with American students, is new to ESU.

It is the only club on campus that hosts demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy and the singing of traditional Chinese songs.

Founder of the Chinese Corner, Zhengqui a graduate student from Dalian, China, summarized perfectly the purpose of Chinese Corner.

She said, “I organized this Chinese Corner to help American students learn mandarin and Chinese culture. It is a great opportunity to help Chinese students to jump out of their ‘group’ to meet people.”

The meetings begin with a presentation on a topic about Chinese culture.

For example, there was once a presentation on Chinese holidays and another on Chinese calligraphy.

“I enjoy learning about one of the world’s oldest civilizations,” declared Denise Harrell, a sophomore at ESU.

However, the most enjoyable part of Chinese Corner is the small group discussions between American and Chinese students.

“In Chinese Corner, it’s all feichang hao (very good): the cultural lessons, the breakout discussions, and the fellowship. Our discussion group even learned a couple of songs. We waiguoren (foreigners) will never make it in Beijing Opera, but it was fun all the same,” said Dr. Cynthia Leenerts, Associate Professor of English.

Dr. Leenerts is taking a Chinese language course this semester. “Dr. Holly Wells, also from the English department, took an acting class in the fall semester. Her enjoyment of the class made me stop just thinking about taking a class, and start doing it,” explained Dr. Leenerts.

“What I personally enjoy about Chinese Corner is the interaction and connection between foreign and domestic students, and how that allows us both to learn a lot about each other’s cultures,” said Patrick McGee, a sophomore at ESU.

The club is as educational as it is fun and a great way for students from two very different countries to connect.

The club is also extremely beneficial to Chinese students who want to make the most of their time in the United States by immersing themselves in the culture and making friends with students born in the United States.

“Chinese Corner is very important to me because I can share information about my motherland, such as culture, food, and things that are popular with young people. Moreover, I can practice my English, improve my social skills, and make many international friends,” stated Xiang Mao, an exchange student from China.

Chinese Corner meets every Thursday at 7:00 PM and usually ends around 8:30 PM. They hold their meetings on the third floor of the University Center. Just follow the sound of Americans attempting to speak Mandarin.

In addition to the Chinese Corner, ESU is also home to the English Corner held in the Writing Studio. This group focuses more on allowing Chinese students the opportunity to practice their English skills through prompted conversations.

The Chinese and English Corners are both instrumental in supporting increased interaction between American and Chinese students.

The increased interaction allows for a more comfortable environment for our foreign students as well as a greater overall cultural awareness across campus.

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