Learning Chinese in the Heartland
“Standing on stage, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I think about the road that led me to this moment. This opportunity would not have been possible without the Confucius Institute.” - Skylar Falter, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
On April 13, 2013, Skylar Falter, a junior engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) traveled to the national Chinese Bridge Speech Competition held at the University of Maryland. The Chinese Bridge Speech Competition is well known among Chinese language learners as the most rigorous competition in the country. This year twenty students from ten universities competed. The competition lasts up to four hours and consists of three parts; a 3-minute speech, 3-minute cultural performance, and a knowledge section with questions on Chinese geography, history, and language.
Wearing a traditional Chinese dress, Skylar tells me about her experience at the competition: “At first it was intimidating being the only student who wasn’t majoring in Chinese, but as we became friends we all had similar stories about how we learned Chinese. It was from that moment I realized how much I have learned from classes at the Confucius Institute.”
Skylar has studied Chinese for over four years. She took her first Chinese class at the Confucius Institute in 2009 and continued taking classes there until 2012. “I never imagined myself as someone who would study Chinese, nevertheless travel and live in China, but after my first class at the Confucius Institute, more opportunities kept knocking on my door.” Since then, Skylar has studied abroad in Beijing and Xi’an, China. Her passion for learning Chinese and love of the Chinese culture continues to grow. This spring, the Confucius Institute at UNL sponsored Skylar’s trip to participate in the Chinese Bridge Speech Competition.
The Confucius Institute is an invaluable resource to the state of Nebraska. The Confucius Institute at UNL (UNLCI) is a non-profit organization established in 2007. Over the past five years, the Confucius Institute at UNL has continually placed teaching Chinese language and promoting Chinese culture as its top priority. The Institute has 19 teachers offering programs at 3 universities and over 20 schools. Besides teaching, the Institute also hosts cultural events and activities such as China Night, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Chinese Culture Week. The Institute also offers opportunities and scholarships to American educators, scholars, and students to travel and study in China.
UNL Confucius Institute Earns 2012 Institute-of-the-Year AwardUNL’s Confucius Institute was named Confucius Institute of the Year by the Confucius Institute Headquarters. The award was given to 24 Confucius Institutes during a recent three-day Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing.
The event was the 7th Confucius Institute Conference, with more than 2,200 delegates attending from more than 200 countries and regions over the world.
Twenty-four “Confucius Institutes of the Year” were named among nearly 400 Confucius Institutes in the world. David Lou, director of UNLCI, accepted the award on behalf of Chancellor Harvey Perlman.
Rachel Zeng, Executive Associate Director of UNLCI, served as a panel member participating in the forum “Formulation of Development Plans for Confucius Institutes around the world.” Bill Nunez, Associate to the Chancellor, UNLCI Chinese Director Pingan Huang and Susan Song from XJTU also attended the conference.
During this global conference, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters Xu Lin introduced three new programs and eight specific programs that will be implemented by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters next year: “Confucius China Study Plan,” “Confucius Institute Key Teaching Positions,” and “Confucius Institute Day of Chinese Language.” The Confucius Institute Headquarters will fully implement Confucius Institute’s development plans, further strengthen the assessment of the quality of Confucius Institutes, improve faculty construction, put more emphasis on development of teaching materials, reform and innovate Chinese language test services, actively launch China-foreign cultural exchange activities, establish a digital platform for Confucius Institutes, and implement the “Confucius China Study Plan.”
The Confucius Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was established five years ago as the 20th CI in the U.S. UNLCI has continuously placed the teaching of Chinese language and promoting Chinese culture as its top priorities. Thanks to the strong support from Hanban and the two universities involved, UNLCI’s teaching staff has grown from two Hanban-sponsored teachers at the initial stage to the current 18 teachers including eight Hanban-sponsored teachers, four Hanban volunteers and six local part-time teachers. UNLCI also has a strong administrative staff including a host director, an executive associate director, a Chinese director, a program coordinator and an office associate. Its teaching programs cover three universities, more than 20 schools in five public school districts, a lifelong learning institute and a preschool children development laboratory with a total of 612 classes with almost 10,000 learners.
In 2012, UNLCI organized or sponsored 27 cultural activities. Through these activities, Nebraskans now have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Chinese culture. UNLCI teaching programs include Chinese language classes, Chinese folk music classes, Chinese painting and calligraphy classes and Chinese cooking classes.
Final Cooking Class of Spring Semester!
Moo Shoo Pork is a popular dish in North American Chinese restaurants. Some say that the name comes from “mu-xi”, the sweet osmanthus tree in Chinese. The blossoms of the sweet osmanthus tree resemble scrambled eggs. It was developed from a Northern China stir-fried dish. In the traditional recipe, pork, scrambled eggs, wood ear (black) mushrooms, and daylily buds are commonly used. What we have in restaurants, and what we will make in the class, are modified recipes developed in the States, with more fresh ingredients, like shredded green cabbage and carrots. The dish is served with thin pancakes instead of over rice.
Pepper Steak is a dish originated from Chinese Fujian cuisine, where it was known as green pepper with shredded meat (beef or pork). This dish consists of sliced steak, bell peppers and onions. It is easy to make and tasty. We will also make the Spicy Pepper Steak in class.
In the coming class on Monday, May 20, you will learn how to cook Moo Shoo Pork and Pepper Steak with our detailed recipes, instructions, demonstrations and hands-on experience. You will be given the opportunity to taste the food you and other participants of the class make. Instructors from the Confucius Institute will teach the class. Please contact Angela Rystrom to register for the class. A downloadable flyer is available here.
Time: May 20, 2013, 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Cooking Lab, Room 206, Leverton Hall, UNL East Campus
Fee: $30, nonrefundable (includes course materials, handouts, tasting food, and drinks)
For registration contact: Angela Rystrom
Announcement for class registration fee reduction
Since the UNL Confucius Institute started the classes of Chinese Language and Culture, it benefits many students, adults as well as children, with learning experiences. The instructors, specially trained in teaching language learners, use powerpoint presentations, activities, listening and speaking practice, and various other methods to help students build their language skills. Students of our classes have learned to communicate in Chinese, even to the extent of participating in Chinese Speech Competitions.
To carry out the mission of promoting and teaching Chinese language and culture, and to better serve our community, we are pleased to announce that our registration fees for the 2013 fall classes are reduced. The $150 fee for adult language classes is lowered to $90; $120 fee for child language classes is lowered to $60; and the $100 fee for the culture classes is lowered to $50. We have always worked hard to provide quality Chinese language and culture teaching to our students and now we are reducing class fees to make our classes more affordable to everyone who is interested in learning Chinese and its culture.
Join us at Chinese Corner!Want to speak Chinese? Learn more about Chinese culture? Join us for Chinese Corner! The UNL Confucius Institute is holding Chinese Corner every Wednesday evening from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at UNL Nebraska Hall, Room 130. Three instructors from the Confucius Institute will host the event. Chinese Corner is great for students and others interested in Chinese language and culture. Participants can pick up some Chinese phrases, get closer to ancient Asian culture, and make new friends!
Chinese Corner Topics for Spring Semester 2013
Feb 27 Chinese Food-Cantonese Cuisine
Mar 6 Chinese Food-Zhejiang Cuisine
Mar 13 Jackie Chan
Mar 27 The Silk Road
Apr 3 Chinese Traditional Architecture-Tulou Building in Fujian Province
Apr 10 Paper Cutting
Apr 17 Tea Art
Don’t hesitate! Come and join in us! It’s FREE for everyone!For more information, browse our website at http://confuciusinstitute.unl.edu, or check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/confuciusunl.