Language study and orientation in May term

The May term before fall China SST is spent in a four-credit hour intensive Chinese language course and several afternoon orientation sessions. Our Chinese teacher, Jin Tao, joined us for the month during her year as a visiting professor at Bluffton University in Ohio. Jin Tao completed her Master’s degree in English Literature at China West Normal University in Nanchong, where our program is held. She is now a professor at Jiangsu University of Science and Technology in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. In addition to language instruction, Professor Jin gave us very helpful insights into culture and systems in China over the May term.

On one class day we went to South Bend to visit Notre Dame’s East Asia collection and then enjoyed a wonderful lunch served by Jean, owner of JW Chen’s near campus. At Notre Dame we were generously hosted by Hye-jin Juhn, Librarian for the collection, and some of her colleagues. A major highlight was a visit to the rare collections room to see the hand-painted copy of the panoramic scroll painting 清明上河图,北宋,张择端 Along the River During the Qingming Festival, Song dynasty, Zhang Zeduan. Scroll paintings are intended to be held by the viewer, who unrolls only an arm’s length section at a time. Amazing artistic technology and precision from 12-century China. It was great to have Jin Tao along with us to help narrate the scenes in the scroll.

Another May term highlight was making jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) with Goshen-resident Wilma Harder, who went on China SST in the 1980’s. Ping-pong practice took place in the back yard between rounds of making and eating jiaozi. Wilma also showed us her amazing photos from 1983, the third year Goshen College sent students to China, using real slides and carousel projector to add even more historic effect.

We’re excited to experience Goshen College’s longest-running Study-Service-Term location this fall. Dale and I are here now in Chengdu, where the program was held until 2008 and will leave by train today for Nanchong.