By Jianhong Lu


August 23, 2013, I still remembered the time when I arrived in Moscow/Pullman airport. On the way to downtown, the fresh air and beautiful scenery of Palouse attracted me and I was looking forward to my new life in here.

I was the first Chinese instructor to teach in University of Idaho since Confucius Institute established in April, 2013.  I taught one Chinese class in my first semester.

Three years has passed, I teach four classes this semester and CI has 7 instructors now. Our program developed a lot during these 3 years and it covers from K-12 to community members, except for college students in Moscow and Boise campus.


Teaching Chinese and culture is a great way to communicate with my students. Not all students are US students, some are from Thai, Korea, Brazil and Saudi Arabic… Our classroom is an international place where we shared each other’s culture and have more understanding on the world.

In order to let more students join our program, I selected part of my students’ comments on learning and experiencing Chinese and culture and I hope this can encourage you to start learning Chinese!


Why do you choose Chinese class?

—- I was interested in learning more about Chinese culture and I have Chinese classmates so I hope to chat with them – when I’m a little more proficient! I also like a challenge which learning Chinese certainly is!

—- I chose this Chinese class because I had the opportunity to visit China, and I plan on returning there again.

—- I chose to study Chinese because it could potentially stand out on a resume or job application.

—- I chose to take Chinese because so many people speak the language, plus China is the biggest country in the world (with respect to population), so it follows that Americans should learn the language.

—- I chose to take Chinese class because it is such a popular language, and I think communication is very important. I also have some Chinese family members I want to speak mandarin with.

How do you feel while you are learning Chinese?

—- It can be intimidating at the start. There’s lots to remember like the tones, Pinyin and characters. But practicing everyday means it’s getting easier and more fun. It’s very satisfying when things finally “click”.

—- Once I understand a concept, I feel extremely accomplished in the fact that I was able to read and interpret a Chinese structured sentence. It makes me feel knowledgeable and unique.

—- It feels good when I learn the words for the lesson. There is sense of accomplishment for being able to read and speak in a different language.

—-I feel great and very excited to the point I used the Chinese language in my spring break and Chinese people love when you talk to them in their own language. I know for a fact that languages are tools for both knowledge and people’s hearts.

—-I enjoy it very much, but also find it to be incredibly challenging at times, especially the characters. This is due mostly to how different they are from the western writing style.

—-I feel very creative when learning Chinese, and I also think it is very relaxing.

Do you enjoy Chinese class? Please find examples.

—- Yes! I enjoy the variety of what we do in class such as practicing speaking and listening skills. The homework is good for practicing characters-I actually find it quite relaxing.

—- I enjoy the Chinese class because I am finally learning words that I heard while I was in China.

—- We spend time not only learning the language and grammar, but a bit of the culture as well.

—- The class isn’t super easy, but while the content is challenging, it is not hard to get a good grade.

—- I enjoy the one on one time with the instructor because of the small class size. This also allows for more individual practice in class.

—- YES! I love how it is a logical language and simple at the same time. I like the sound of the language and its logical characters.

—- Yes, I enjoy learning about new cultures, and I like how logical the Chinese language is.

—- Yes. Chinese 101 class is my favorite class in this semester.

What do you think about your Chinese instructor?

—- Our instructor is very patient and helpful, and always happy to explain concepts/ grammar in more detail.

—- My instructor does her best to acknowledge the strengths and weakness to where she is willing to slow down the speed of a concept to let the student comprehend it.

—- My teacher is very patient and friendly; She knows how to teach the language, and has enthusiasm, and speak English very well, which helps when we’re learning Chinese.

—-I think she’s a good professor because she’s understanding when it comes to the classes and individual learning speed.

—-Mrs. Jianhong Lu is very delight and helpful. I really admire her teaching style and her understanding of the students’ difficulties. She has a unique teaching style that energizes the class and motivates everybody to participate. In addition, she diverse our schedule with events like movie and festivals that help us to engage with the Chinese culture.

—- Professor Lu is a very knowledgeable individual who makes learning a fun experience for myself and my fellow classmates. I appreciate her teaching style and her willingness to help us.

Do you have any learning method to share?

—- Flashcards have really helped me as well as using ”Quizlet” on line. I can do short sessions of revision that fit into my busy schedule.

—- A learning method I use is to learn the chapter at home before class, and then when we go over the chapter in class, it is only review.

—- I am currently in a weekly study group with individual in class. I also study whenever I have the time.  I do think you need to be a visually oriented learner in order to be able to fully comprehend the language!

—- Repetition is a good learning method. Keep reading and speaking and it will become easier.

—-Try to remember strokes order when writing characters. It also helps when you write the same character three times in a row when working on memorization and recognition.

—- Listing to Chinese music and to the provided CDs helps me a lot and occasionally I practice with my sister via Internet.

—- I try to talk to myself in Chinese as much as I can, the practice helps me a lot.

What’s your future plan after your learning?

—- I plan to take more Chinese classes at UI until I graduate. Then I hope to teach English in China during summer 2017.

—- My plan is to keep learning and taking Chinese classes or when I return to China.

—- I plan to move forward with my Chinese education. I plan to move from 110 to the 200 level course!

—- I would like to study abroad in China. I am also considering a career involving international studies.

—- I have plans to travel to China for business and recreational purposes. More importantly I am building a library of books to teach my future children variety of sciences and languages and Chinese on the top list.

—- Continued education until I have reach fluency. Afterwards, I hope to seek employment teaching English and political science/US history if positions are available in China. Otherwise, I simply hope to spend an extended period of time exploring China.

—- I want to use my learning in my career somehow.

—- I hope to continue to learn Chinese. And in the future I hope to take HSK. I think I will get lots of chance to use Chinese in the future.


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