What better way to learn the language and culture of a country than to live there?
For two students at Pellissippi State Community College, the opportunity to live and study in China came thanks to the scholarships they received prior to the fall 2011 semester.
Jack Little and Chris Summerville traveled to China in August, and they return to Knoxville spring 2012. The experience gives them the chance to pursue their studies of Chinese language and culture while immersed in the country’s daily life.
Little, who is in his second semester at Pellissippi State, had enrolled in the college’s inaugural offering of “Beginning Chinese I” in January 2011. His previous exposure to the language included the study of Mandarin Chinese while completing his high school degree and during a two-month visit to the country.
“Mandarin Chinese is a very specific skill,” said Little. “It can be highly marketable during the job application process.”
The beginning Chinese language class, in addition to “Peoples and Culture of China,” is part of Pellissippi State’s Confucius Classroom. Thanks to the school’s status as the 2010 recipient of a prestigious grant from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, Pellissippi State has a full-time instructor from China who teaches Chinese language and culture classes.
This semester, students who had completed “Beginning Chinese I” were able to continue their studies in “Beginning Chinese II.” For spring 2012, Pellissippi State is adding “Intermediate Chinese I.” By fall 2012, “Intermediate Chinese II” also will be offered. That means students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree may now satisfy their foreign language requirement with Mandarin Chinese.
Little learned of the availability of financial assistance through the Confucius Institute and applied. When he was notified that he had been awarded a scholarship and would travel to China for his studies, he says he considered the honor a rare opportunity.
“Most people don’t have this chance,” he said. “I am extremely grateful to the Confucius Institute and to the South-Central University for Nationalities for this opportunity. I’m excited about being able to study and live in China. As with most drastic changes, there is always some fear of the unknown. That’s the difference, though, between an adventure and another day in our own comfortable routine.”
Chris Summerville has traveled to many places outside the U.S., among them Central and South America, but this will be his first trip to China. He learned of the study abroad scholarship from Pellissippi State’s Confucius Classroom instructor, Qiao Gui-qiang, also known as “Freeman.”
“He announced the scholarships in class,” said Summerville. “I am so grateful to Pellissippi State for having the Confucius Classroom in the first place. And, of course, I’m grateful to the Confucius Institute and to SCUN for the scholarship.”
Summerville, like Little, expects the experience in China to add to his job marketability.
“The Chinese economy is on the rise,” he said. “There’s a real value in learning Chinese. It’s a great business tool to have going into the market. The language is definitely an asset in international business logistics, for example.”
Confucius Classroom courses offered at the college spring semester include the following:
- “Beginning Chinese I” (MLC 1010)—Mon., Wed., Fri.; 9:40-10:35 a.m.
- “Beginning Chinese II” (MLC 1020)—Mon., Wed., Fri.; 12:55-1:50 p.m.
- “Intermediate Chinese I” (MLC 2010)—Mon., Wed., Fri.; 2-2:55 p.m.
Classes for spring 2012 begin on Jan. 12. The application deadline is Jan. 5.
To obtain further information about the Chinese language and culture courses, as well as about scholarships, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.