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Meet the Chinese Language Director: Tong Chen

“If a thing’s worth doing, it is worth doing well.”—Chinese Proverb

Tong Chen, the Director of the Chinese Academy, embodies this philosophy to the fullest extent possible.

Tong Chen was born in Fujian, China, where she spent the entirety of her childhood. Later on, she attended Xiameng University, which is also located in Fujian, China. While there, she studied economics and linguistics, concentrating predominantly in English language and literature studies.

The Calm Before the Storm

The world is quiet here at St. Michael’s College -- yet, nevertheless, filled with much anticipation in the days approaching the official start of Middlebury Interactive’s Chinese and French Language Academies.

Enhancing Homeschool and Host Family Environments through Language Learning

Being a homeschool educator to five boys, I consider our family dynamic to be unique. We also frequently host international students visiting the U.S. to learn about our culture and customs. The opportunity to act as a host family for international students came about several years ago when Wheaton Academy, where my husband Paul currently serves as Director of Admissions, started an international student host program and inquired if we would like to participate.

The Importance of Culture in Amplifying Student Language Learning Online

In China, people have long held great respect for teachers. The philosopher Confucius was a distinguished scholar and teacher who believed that “education should be for all, irrespective of their social status.” If he were living in today’s world, which is dubbed the “global village,” he would probably add, “irrespective of their cultural backgrounds.”

Take Look(Book) at Our Latest Beijing Photos

Program Director, Gao Yuan, took some amazing photos of life in language at our Beijing Academy and compiled them in a Lookbook here: http://bit.ly/1nAxpcA. Once we receive the individual photos, we will send an updated blog post so that you can view and download for free. Be sure to check back soon!

-Ryan H.
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Chinese Academy Students Take a Well Deserved Break

It’s sad to say, but this post will be the last Monday blog from the 2014 MMLA at Swarthmore! 

During the past three weeks, Academy students have done an amazing job staying in their target language. Now, it’s time to see how their efforts have paid off. This morning, each student had an oral assessment with their Chinese teachers. It was incredible to see just how much students have improved from their first day at the Language Academy.

Recommitment to Language…And Pizza!

Today was a big day for all of the students at the Chinese Academy, as they had to go through some evaluative testing today. To balance the testing, RAs took their students into town for something other than cafeteria food. The most popular dish? It was none other than pizza! At least one person in each group had a slice of pizza in hand. Our living group did the same and afterwards we decided to go watch a Chinese drama called “Meteor Shower” in our assembly room. 

A Big Day for the Chinese Academy!

What a day! In the morning, the entire Chinese Academy boarded buses and took off for Chinatown in nearby Philadelphia. First, everyone enjoyed authentic Chinese cuisine at an authentic Szechuan (Sichuan) restaurant, yum! After filling up on all kinds of meats, noodles, tofu, vegetables, and more, we had some time for shopping and exploring in the local stores. Back at campus, everyone was busy enjoying the beautiful weather and preparing for that night’s big event: a Chinese Academy talent show! Some of the many acts included singing, dancing, violin playing, piano playing, and more!

The Chinese Academy Is Ready for the World Expo!!!

Today, the Chinese Academy worked hard to prepare for the World Expo. In the morning assembly, Hsieh Laoshi led students in a song called “帶你回來 (dai ni huilai),” which literally means ‘bring you back’. In the afternoon, students rehearsed their dances, skits and Kung Fu performances. During the evening assembly, students applied what they learned in today’s class by preparing and performing short skits. The theme of the day was clothing, and the students were very creative. They imitated their teachers and some celebrities in their skits.

And the Cafeteria Music Battle Continues…

The heated competition over which language academy will dominate the Pomona cafeteria with music and choreography continues! Frary Dining Hall came alive yesterday when the Chinese Academy broke out into a dance routine that had everyone’s arms waving and feet stomping. Ellery, the Chinese Academy dorm head, led the group from the front with booming music and lots of singing. The Chinese Academy students really enjoyed their share of cafeteria limelight. Now we wait to see which Academy will try to one up us!

-Colin Edwards and Lindsay Call, Program Assistants

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