Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Student Interest Groups at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Spring semester at the HNC is well underway, so current student Nanfei Yan sent us an update on some of the new student initiatives taking place in Nanjing:

Hello All,

Extracurricular activities such as sports teams and students clubs are a welcome addition to any university; the HNC is no different. Last semester, we talked about volunteer initiatives (MSLI), cultural celebrations (Halloween & Christmas parties), and the HNC basketball team. This semester, I’d like to start by introducing everyone to some of the student-run interest groups at the Center.

First up, the movies! Our international student body representative, M.A. student Lincoln Lin, has a passion for films. In an effort to bring the movies from China and abroad to our diverse student body, he organized a biweekly screening event. After polling the students for classics, Lincoln curated a list that includes “Some Like it Hot”, “大闹天宫”, “Pulp Fiction”, and “甲方乙方”. When asked about his motivation, Lincoln responded: “The things we discuss in class, the academics, that’s just part of learning about other countries. Watching their movies, that’s when you really start getting into the heart of the culture.”

Moving on to philosophy! Lovingly titled the “Philosophy Non-Club”, this group of students and professors meet on an irregular basis to discuss the controversies of life. Off the record, but this may be where the professors do their best teaching. 

HNC's Korea Interest Group
Next up, to Korea and Japan! New this semester, two cultural groups have been established at the Center. Responding to popular demand, Certificate student Dennis Hong has kicked off the Korea Interest Group with an inaugural dinner at the most authentic Korean restaurant in Nanjing. “The purpose of the group is to promote awareness of the Korean culture at the Center, strengthening US-Korea and China-Korea relations”, said Dennis. I have taken a more linguistic route in starting the Japanese Interest Group. Together with M.A. student Travis Dane, we teach Japanese to HNC students four times a week. Both Dennis and I have been delighted at the interest shown by HNC students. 

Japanese Language Group Lunchtime Session
Speaking of language, there are multiple initiatives aimed at improving the speaking skills of HNC students. Lucas Atkins has started both the Chinese-English speaking program as well as a public speaking practice group. Participants of the first program wear ‘中文’ and ‘English’ language pins on alternate days, restricting their conversations that day to the language. The public speaking group is a bilingual implementation of Toastmaster’s, where participants practice making short speeches about an assigned topic. In a bilingual environment like the HNC, students sometimes exhibit a tendency to speak or respond in the language they are the most comfortable in. Through his language programs, Lucas hopes to encourage more students to converse in their target language.

Lastly, the warming weather has invited the runners out of hibernation. M.A. student Emily Shea has organized weekly runs around campus and to the neighboring Xuanwu Lake. Right at the peak of cherry blossom season, runs around Nanjing are absolutely beautiful. I hope this inspires you all to go out jogging! 

Cherry Blossoms in Nanjing