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Students enjoy videoconference with U.S.A.
A live international videoconference allowed students at Northern Michigan University and Sias International University in China to interact and exchange ideas in real time. Dr. Alex Carroll, a professor of anthropology at NMU, hosted the conference in NMU’s Socio-Cultural Anthropology class on Oct. 8. The exchange was co-hosted on the other end of the camera – and world – by Jason Harper, who is currently teaching EFL with an emphasis in college composition at Sias under a partnership program with Fort Hays State (Kansas) University. Mr. Harper selected eight of his students to participate in this live exchange: Sunny (Li Jin), Stephen (Gao Meng), Davina (Dai Weina), Joanna (Sun Zhong), Jaeger (Jiang Jiang), Dennis (Li Tianrui), JoJo (Fan Yibing), Laurie (Ma Xiaolong), and Trisa (Li Ran). The videoconference focused on socio-linguistics, specifically the interrelatedness of language, culture, and thought as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with learning new languages in an academic atmosphere. “It was exciting because I love to talk with people from different countries,” Davina, an international finance major, said. “It was a way to help American students to learn more about China, the true way of China. The direct way, not the indirect way like in the news.” At the end, the discussion led to a trade of sayings and expressions, such as “Yooper” (a resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and “Ni hao” and “mien” (“hello” and “noodles” in Chinese). Everyone was happy to practice these new additions to their vocabulary, and all students involved expressed and interest in meeting again for a follow-up conference tentatively scheduled in November. “I’m looking forward to the next time,” Davina said. “We’re all excited to know the other side of America and what they think about China.”
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