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For the Love of Snow
It’s not that it never snows in Beijing–it’s just that when it DOES snow, the People’s Liberation Army goes to town with shovels and dump trucks, carting all traces of the white stuff away to Inner Mongolia before one can say ‘snow angel.’ Thus, when three scholars from Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) arrived in Minnesnowta in late September, they had one primary goal in mind: see snow. This, of course, in addition to the primary reason they had arrived in the American midwest, which was to improve their English communication abilities and gain in-depth knowledge of American business pedagogy.
Over the course of three months, the scholars made steady improvement in both their English speaking skills and methods of pedagogy. Speaking nary a word of English during the welcome banquet on September 26, each of the three made impressive speeches completely in English at the graduation ceremony and farewell banquet held December 18. The scholars attended English class held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, as well as audited several courses at the Carlson School of Management that were specific to their own fields of expertise. In equal parts due to the dedication of their teachers and as a result of their own motivation and hard work, these three scholars are returning to Beijing next week with newfound creativity and innovation that they are eager to put into practice at CUFE. The China Center looks forward to welcoming future groups from their university and to a lasting collaboration with the three scholars themselves. Perhaps we should thank the snow…
Minnesota Nice, Rodeo Drive, and Fog–Oh, My!
The United States is a large country; that much we all know to be true. How, then, is it possible for a Chinese training delegation to develop in-depth knowledge of the U.S. Higher Education System while simultaneously learning about American culture and customs? Why, the answer is simple: participate in one of the China Center’s prestigious Mingda Training Programs! An 18-member training delegation from Henan University of Economics and Law did just that from November 25-December 14, 2012. Arriving the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the delegation was able to experience the thick of the American shopping extravaganza (also known as the holiday season) during the few moments they were not attending University of Minnesota lectures; visiting public, private, and state universities; or being immersed in American cultural activities on the weekends.
I was fortunate enough to accompany the delegation to the West Coast as they experienced joyful tidings in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, as well as workshops on the US higher education system at UCLA and UC-Berkeley. There was also time for a visit to Universal Studios and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, and Fishermen’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I was touched to receive 18 individual toasts at their final dinner together in San Francisco–and extremely grateful that my glass was filled with tea and not the naughty scurge that is Chinese rice liquor. Live and learn!
在中央財經大學的故鄉北京，也許是因為解放軍的鎮鏟和翻斗車在雪后清扫的太過迅速，人們很少有对着积雪感嘆“雪天使”的機會。因此，當中央財經大學的三位 學者決定於九月下旬來訪有“明尼雪達”之昵稱的明尼蘇達州時，相信除了學術英語能力的提高和美國商科的高等教育教學法的體驗觀察之外，能看到雪也是明尼蘇 達的最大吸引力之一。
學者們穩步提昇著他們的教學法理論知識和英語口語技能。在9月26日的歡迎晚宴發表過全中文演講之後短短三個月不到，學者們於12月18日在畢業典禮暨告 別宴會上就能做全英語的演講，生动、深入，令人印象深刻。這歸功於他們自己的熱情辛勤和美方教師的奉獻精神：每週一、三、五上午，學者們都會參加英語課以 及經嚴格篩選的卡爾森管理學院具體到專業領域的幾門課程。圆满完成培训後，這三位學者带着新的創意、新的理念，和在中央財經大學将新的英文教学技能和商科 教学法付諸實踐的渴望，離開積雪的明州、踏上归途了。
明大培訓項目經理梅里特·威爾遜女士陪同代表團進行了加州洛杉磯，聖地亞哥，舊金山等地的訪問。在加州大學洛杉磯、伯克利两分校，代表團參加了專門為其举 行的針對美國高等教育系統議題的研討會。他們也有時間參觀環球影城、好萊塢星光大道、漁人碼頭和金門大橋。洛杉磯的羅迪歐購物大道的繁華和舊金山大霧的寧 靜同樣賞心悅目。