School organizations celebrated the Chinese Lantern Festival and promoted Pasadena City College’s study abroad program to China in Galloway Plaza on Thursday.
Dr. Cathy Wei, a Chinese language professor, said the Global Club, Chinese Language Program and the English Department organized the event to help the campus understand more about Chinese culture.
“We chose the Lantern Festival because it is a happy occasion,” Wei said. “It is a very important event in China that celebrates the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.”
Nancy Nghia, vice president of Global Club, said Global Club’s goal is to interact with different cultures and host different events and activities like Thursday’s.
The event included traditional Chinese activities that occur during the Lantern Festival including a calligraphy demonstration, a riddle table, a shuttlecock contest, and paper-cutting. Free egg rolls and green tea were served.
One of Wei’s students, Julia Metzler, sang Chinese opera songs.
“When Dr. Wei learned that I had participated in the I Sing Beijing program, she invited me to sing at today’s event,” Metzler said.
I Sing Beijing is a program that takes Western opera singers to China to learn Chinese opera.
Metzler plans on returning to China later this year.
Representatives for next fall’s study abroad program to China also attended Thursday’s event.
Wei said the study abroad program to China is a fun ten-week program where students take three to four classes in Beijing, go on many cultural excursions, and explore all the possibilities China has to offer.
“I think it is a great learning experience,” said Michelle Washington, a former study abroad student. “I think it is just such a wonderful opportunity that so many people don’t take advantage of.”
Former study abroad student Michele Chan, Chinese, said you get to see historical areas, like the temples, and go on tours and geo trips.
Washington, international relations, said people come from all over the world united in their goal to speak Chinese.
All three students said living in the dorms were great and laughed about the “tidiness survey”—a survey measuring cleanliness and other things that determines how roommates are chosen.
“It asks you if you sleep early or late, if you are a neat freak, or if you would prefer to live with someone who isn’t and other questions,” said Nghia, business.
They also agreed that even though the program is two and half months long, it felt too short.
“You forget about time. I just remember it being very fun,” Nghia said. “And then being in shock when it was about to end.”
Wei said all students should look at the opportunities in the financial aid and scholarship office. It is her understanding that a lot of scholarships go unused because no one applies for them.
The Gilman International Scholarship Program is for study abroad program participants. The filing date for Fall is March 4.
“The experience of having a strong understanding of the Chinese culture and how to interact with other people has opened a lot of doors,” Washington said.
She said it helped her land an internship with East West Bank.
Wei said a student who went on the program to just study language classes last year is now studying Chinese medicine at Beijing University.
“Just be brave,” Wei said. “Plan ahead, and imagine the possibilities.”
To be eligible for the program you have to be 18, have completed one course in a community college and have a GPA of 2.0. Knowledge of Chinese language is not required, although it is helpful.
Informational meetings about the Fall 2014 Study Abroad Program to China start February 20 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. in room C217.