Year 3 & 3rd Summer Abroad

Spring – CHIN 417





Pre-Departure Briefing #1

The first Pre-Departure Briefing for Taiwan will occur in early spring, most likely mid-week from 5 to 6pm in the second week of February.

It will cover general policies and logistics for purchasing airfare, etc.

Attendance is MANDATORY. It should not last more than an hour. Unless you have a major academic conflict, plan on arriving on time (which means “a little early”) and remaining until the end.

The second briefing will be in late spring and will cover what to pack, how to approach the language pledge, etc.

Program applicants who place into CHIN 215 will be asked to participate via Skype.  Applicants who do not take their placement exams in time will be provided the essential documents and will have the opportunity to participate in Departure Briefing #2, later in the spring.

Chinese New Year’s Celebration

Every year we host a Chinese New Year’s celebration.

This event should be enjoyable, but it is also an important part of learning Chinese culture such as …

  • Chinese family traditions and sentiments during their biggest holiday
  • Traditions and cultural expectations for social units outside the home (i.e., university students)
  • What to expect:

    "mandatory fun"

    • Your class / cohort will need to memorize a song or skit and perform at the ceremony.
    • Your class / cohort will be assigned duties to perform in order to make the entire event more enjoyable for everyone. This may include decorating the venue, setting up food, cleaning up afterward, etc.
    • If you are a stand-out student in your cohort, you may be singled out to perform individually or to play a special role. You may be very busy that week and wish to decline, but don't think of this as completely up to you. If you have a very compelling reason, discuss it immediately and politely with your teacher. Otherwise, consider the assignment an honor and take whatever measures are necessary to represent yourself, your cohort, and your teacher as well as you possibly can.

    When Americans decide to put on a Christmas party or similar event for work or school, participation in festivities and in the set-up is usually voluntary. The event is only as "fun" as the participants choose to make it. The assumption in most cases is probably that, if people are compelled to have a good time, then genuineness is lost, and no one actually has any real fun.

    In Chinese culture, the assumption perhaps is that everyone must feel an obligation to make the event a success. The more people invest their time and energy into the event, the more they will insist on having a good time. These notions are not untrue; it just may not be your first reaction. Keep the Chinese perspective in mind as you prepare for the event.

    Such events play a number of roles in Chinese culture, including but not limited to the following:

    • Creating greater identity and cohesion within a group
    • Strengthening the roles of each member, from the director, all the way down to the students.
    • Showing off the success of the program to invited guests
    • Creating a pleasant atmosphere for members to bond on a more personal level
    • Giving individuals a chance to show off their talents. Sometimes, they may not want to but may be somewhat compelled to, with the understanding that modesty is an important trait in China and that people should communicate that they do not wish to "show off" and must be forced to show their true talents.

    Note that in such contexts, everyone is assigned a role and expected to execute it well, including the director and each teacher. If your teacher is putting more effort into this event than you would normally expect, this is the reason. When you and/or your cohort perform well, you make your teacher (who has been tasked with ensuring you do) look good. If you have a careless attitude and give a mediocre performance, you make your teacher look bad. This makes the director look bad in front of any invited guests.