Visiting scholar introduces Chinese language to students


Kennedy Nolen

Visiting scholar and Chinese professor Yan Yu teaches her Elementary Chinese I class Wednesday in Coleman Hall.

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

For the first time in years, Eastern students are currently taking a Chinese language course this semester while professor Yan Yu is at the university.

Yan is a visiting scholar from Dalian Polytechnic University in China and native Chinese speaker. She uses her experiences to open up the minds of students in her Elementary Chinese I class.

Senior chemistry major Aramis Smith said Yan brings in props to help teach different concepts in class.

“She brought authentic green tea, which was cool,” Smith said.

He said he hopes to do research in China, so he is taking the Chinese language class as preparation.

At Yan’s home university in China, she is an English teacher, she said.

“The government gave us a grant so we can study (in the United States), so basically I am doing some research and studying English,” Yan said.

She said she likes the atmosphere at Eastern and people are very nice to her.

The English and foreign languages departments are well organized, and the staff is always thinking of their students first.

“That is very important. They try to figure out how to help with students,” Yan said. “I like that very much.”

Although she is only at Eastern for a semester, she said she wishes she could stay for a longer amount of time.

The cultural traditions between her Chinese students in Dalian and the students at Eastern are very different, and the ways of teaching courses are a lot different, Yan said.

Esther Simon, a junior elementary education and Spanish double major, said she knew learning Chinese would be beneficial because there is always the possibility of teaching students who speak Chinese.

She said she likes learning new languages and seeing the differences between them and English.

“I like that we are learning the basics, like how to greet others. If I ever decide to go to China, it will help out,” Simon said.

Junior marketing major Lisa Stevens said she was recommended to take the Chinese language course because she is minoring in Asian studies and wanted to learn an Asian language.

Stevens said her favorite part about the class is that Yan teaches the history of China and geography of regions around the country.

Yan said she loves her students at Eastern and is very proud with the progress they have made.

“They work very hard,” she said.

Jokingly, Yan said she prefers teaching her native language Chinese to Eastern students rather than teaching English in China because it is easier.

The class meets every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 p.m. in room 1169 in Coleman Hall.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].