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East Meets West: Celebrating (a Belated) Lunar New Year


In the midst of midterm studying and final essays, students in the Chinese department gathered recently for a well-deserved break. Students from all four years gathered in the Tolles Pavilion to celebrate a belated Chinese New Year.

The annual event allows students to not only enjoy a taste of authentic Chinese food and desserts, but also share what they have learned with the rest of the Chinese department outside of the classroom.

After brief Chinese banter, that was articulate and yet simple enough for students of all language levels to understand, hosts Bryce Fan ’20 and Hoang Do ’17 introduced the first presentation of the night.

Twelve first-year students guided the audience in singing “Gongxi Ge,” a traditional and celebratory Lunar New Year song. Afterward, Paola Tabet ’20, Calvin Neumeyer ’20, Ifeoluwa Aiyelabowo ’19 and Emma Belanger ’20 danced to “Xiao Píngguo,” which translates to “Little Apple,” a pop-fitness hybrid song that has become quite popular in China in recent years.

 Chinese Teaching Fellow Huili Zhang and Kenzie Nguyen ’17 performed “Dai Jia Lè,” meaning “Fun of Dai Life,” in the traditional Chinese dance style.

Finally, sophomores in Chinese 140 presented their midterm projects: a series of three-minute-long videos featuring their own written and performed scripts that substituted the original audio.

These brief video clips ranged from scenes of Mean Girls to Zootopia, but were accompanied by the voices of fellow Chinese students.

Lian Xue, visiting instructor of East Asian Languages and Literature, hopes that incorporating different media will help students better appreciate integral aspects of China’s culture.

Although most term project presentations do not involve the entire Chinese department, the faculty make a conscious effort to bring students of all language levels together for the Lunar New Year dinner.

“We make the Chinese department one big family. When seniors join the party they become a friend to all the other students, this way we can all learn from each other,” Xue said.

She admits that watching the sophomores’ videos is her favorite part of the night.

“It not only shows everyone those students’ language improvement, it also lets students find that you can tie work and real life together and that learning is not boring at all,” Xue said.

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