Control? Open Channel C!*

JISHOU, HUNAN — There are almost a quarter million Chinese studying in the USA now, and many more who want to study in the States if they had the chance — my students among them. But a Chinese (or really any international) student coming to the USA faces a lot of challenges: the language barrier, the writing barrier, cultural differences, different attitudes about dating and sex. I do my best to explain the differences, but my experience as a college student was three decades ago. So, my information is perhaps somewhat out of date. A few months ago, I stumbled upon Channel C. Three Chinese students studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pan Fangdi 潘芳迪, Niu Muge 牛牧歌 and Cecilia Miao 缪思 (Miao Si), began the project in an effort to bridge the cultural gaps between Chinese students and their non-Chinese classmates. They have their own YouTube channel and also one on YouKu, the Chinese version of YouTube. Although the three are now in different cities in the US and China, they still manage with the help of team members Ye Du 叶杜 and Stephanie Sykes to produce cogent and interesting videos about career advice, dating advice, language learning, EDM ...

Finally, a blog post: bridging East and West once again 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — Before classes begin, it’s time to stop procrastinating and get the words in my head into print. Hopefully, they will make sense. So, I’ve been back in China since August 9, after a wonderful month in America’s heartland visiting family and friends, and driving a lot. My Chinese students and friends are truly perplexed when I tell them my immediate family is spread out over four widely spaced states, so visiting “home” is not as easy as getting off the plane and saying, “Here I am!” Families in China are still strongly attached to their hometowns, so when children grow up and move out (assuming they do), they typically don’t move very far away. Many parents actively discourage marriages with partners who live far away, since it means at least one half of the couple will be far, far from his or her home. These traditions are changing, of course, since Chinese are becoming more mobile than before, but at least where I live, home is where your family is closely packed. On this trip back I was joined by my friend, Nora, who will spend a year at Wayne State College in Nebraska as a visiting ...

Odds’n’ends

JISHOU, HUNAN — I had some time on my hands recently, so I spent it tweaking the website. I’ve joined the China Blog Network, and you’ll see a widget linking to it in the right sidebar. One blog I’ve been spending time reading is Wok With Me, Baby, a cooking blog written by an ex-pat in Shanghai who cooks Western-style food with mostly locally available ingredients. Her chili recipe looks good. I found a cool world map widget that shows visitors’ locations. I saw it at Respectful Insolence, a medical blog by the sharp-tongued skeptical Orac. Although I already have a Clustrmap, the spinning globe was too cool to pass up. The Status Update plug-in doesn’t seem to be updating my Facebook status, but I’m not going to sweat it until Nov. 22, when FB shuts off RSS feeds to FB Notes. I’ve already discovered that tweets can be fed to FB status lines. We had our first English Corner of the new school year today. A big crowd of mostly freshmen, who for some reason seem younger (several 17-year-olds among my students) and more geographically diverse than before. I’ve met several students from Xinjiang, in the far west of ...
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