From July 7-28, The Asia Institute organized and co-hosted an integrated language and culture program for Chinese-language learners at Texas State University. The course was divided into four areas – language, student engagement, historical site visits and culture/community – for a total of 13 sessions. Sessions were designed to compliment classroom learning through unique interactive sessions on cultures and customs in China.
Interactive Site Visits in Taipei
During week one, students enjoyed a virtual tour of Ximen Market, one of the most well-known night markets in Taipei. During this sessions, students learned about Taiwan food culture and historical Japanese influence through the architecture and food stalls that get their flavor from Japan. During another session, students visited a Confucian temple that was built in the 19th century and learned about the origins of Confucianism.
During the second week, students learned about Dihua Street, one of Taipei’s oldest streets with sections in existence since the rule of Dutch Formosa from 1624 to 1661. Students learned about preservation and conservation efforts by the city to ensure future generations learn about Taipei’s unique history.
In the program’s final week, students visited the Chaing Kai Shek Memorial, and explored the unique architectural features that symbolism prosperity and good health in Chinese culture.
Language Exchange & Exchange with Indigenous Populations
To reinforce their classroom language learning, students were afforded the opportunity to develop authentic connections with their peers in Asia. During one module, students from Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China joined Texas State University students as virtual language partners. With topics that aligned with those the Texas students had been covering in class, the pairs conversed about such things as their families, traveling, the weather, and giving directions.
Also, students had the unique opportunity to learn about and engage with indigenous minority communities from Taiwan. In collaboration with ATAYAL, a global organization with a mission to preserve indigenous peoples’ language and culture, Texas State students took part in a language and culture exchange through multiple small-group sessions.