First Semesters

By Dr. Rachel Halverson, Department Chair Modern Languages and Cultures

First semesters are often magical times in life. The first semester of college, the first semester of graduate school, the first semester of a new position at a new university . . .  All entail the dynamic intersection of meeting new people, getting one’s bearings in a new place, learning an incredible number of new things, and seeing the world from a new perspective. In the course of my life as a student and then as a faculty member, I have had a number of first semesters, and fall 2016 I had the opportunity to experience a first semester once again in my new position as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Idaho. With these exciting recent weeks still fresh in my mind, I can attest to the joy that working with new colleagues and learning a multiplicity of new things brings to one’s professional and personal life. The University of Idaho Confucius Institute and its work to cultivate the study of Chinese and knowledge of Chinese culture on the Palouse have been a part of my first semester at the University of Idaho. Very quickly it has become a part my daily life here, and it has contributed to my positive impressions of the university and its commitment to providing its students with the broadest range of opportunities to become knowledgeable, multi-lingual global citizens. Each day I walk past the Confucius Institute on the way to my office, and every week I walk past the Kenworthy Theater in downtown Moscow and see announcements for upcoming Chinese films. A trip to Spokane in October included a spectacular nighttime walk through Riverfront Park illuminated by the amazing multi-colored displays that made up the Chinese Lantern Festival, a cultural event co-sponsored by the UI Confucius Institute. In 2017 I look forward to supporting the efforts of the Confucius Institute to cultivate student interest in studying Chinese and build a strong minor in the language.

莫村一季

By Yang Jianjian

2015年我走出国门,走向世界,来到美利坚,遇见Moscow,开启了“传播中国语言、弘扬华夏文明”的使命之旅。依稀记得去年9月登上前往西雅图飞机那一刻的恋恋不舍,忽然发现时针早已走过一季。当初决定留下,原来真的对了。从初出茅庐的毕业小生,到现如今工作、生活的游刃有余,真心感谢遇到的良师诤友,感恩你们的携手相助、谆谆教诲。

我的汉语教学之路从Moscow Charter School开始。过去一年MCS的汉语学习人数从一开始的6人变成现在将近60人,看着孩子们一天天从‘你好,我叫…’到‘我喜欢…我家有…’的转变,作为一份子的我,喜悦之情溢于言表。当然,这一切离不开孔子学院的积极努力与开拓。强大的团队造就了更好地自己。教学工作稳扎稳打之余,文化活动也是有声有色。中国电影之夜、中国美食俱乐部、Palouse中国论坛、中华武术兴趣小组等一系列活动不仅给我的工作增光添彩,也让爱达荷大学校园刮起了一阵又一阵的“中国风”。“你好、再见”这一声声来自陌生面孔的问候,总能不经意间传入你的耳畔。

新学期,志愿者队伍迎来了新面孔。为了让新人

可以安心、投入的工作,作为前辈的自己必然要帮助小伙伴尽快适应异国他乡的生活。但身在异国,难免思乡,作为过来人我很明白新志愿者的心情:饮食差异、文化交际不适应、气候多变身体难适……幸运的是,有了自己过去一年的历练,一切都变得顺利、自如。报道注册、办理手续、安置家务……等到所有的事都变得妥当安适,自己不然而然的成就感满满。

虽然国外生活让我变得越发老练,但工作上的难题偶尔也会让我无所适从。新学期,我接手了中文社区课。这对于一个过去一年一直从事小学生汉语教学的志愿者来说,无疑充满挑战。教学对象从小孩子变为成年人,相应的教学方法、内容也必须重新设计、规划。第一次走进社区课堂,面对着一群与自己年纪不相上下甚至大于过自己的成年人,说真的,很紧张:生怕自己在讲课的时候会出错、难以解答他们的问题。然而随着时间的推进,我才发现一切忧虑都是多余的:由于先前的充分准备,我的紧张疑虑并没有过分占据自己的神经,加上学生们原来是如此的和蔼可亲,课堂氛围一下子变得轻松、活泼。对于中国,他们是如此的好奇与着迷:饮食文化的丰富多彩、书法技艺的高超精湛、剪纸中国结的妙趣横生让他们无不惊叹中华文明的博大精深。当然,就像绝大多数西方人一样,

社区课学生最感兴趣的必然是武术课。因为李小龙、成龙、李连杰等一大批武打明星在好莱坞闯下的一片天地,中国武术对美国人而言充满了未知的好奇与神秘。功夫课上,学生们一个个竭尽模仿武术老师的各个招式,虽然未能达标,但那股子认真劲儿,和那副憨态可掬的模样,着实让人又敬又爱。在此,我要特别感谢爱达荷大学孔子学院的武术老师柳娟:如果没有柳老师的全情投入和帮助,我的社区课也不会变的如此顺利。[抱拳]

时间总在不经意间从指缝悄悄溜走。年终岁末,秋季学期就要结束了。在感恩节即将到来之际,我要借此机会向所有的爱达荷大学孔子学院的领导、老师和志愿者们表达我诚挚的感恩与问候:感谢你们这一年的关爱与帮助,是你们让我变得越来越好。祝大家身体健康、节日快乐、工作顺利。