University of Pittsburgh | BradfordHeinz Programming Area:
Ambria Richardson spent eight weeks studying Chinese in CET Virtual Language and Culture Intensive. During that time, she was able to participate in a group class, 1:1 experiences, tutoring, and language exchange opportunities with a native speaker in China. In addition to these experiences, she engaged in bi-weekly webinars that focused on the different parts of Chinese culture. All the while, Ambria was able to develop her Chinese language skills, as well as develop a deeper appreciation for Chinese culture.
Outside of the virtual classroom, Ambria was able to cultivate relationships with both her language partners and her tutor, which will last long after the end of the eight-week course. She also made frequent trips to Chinatown in her hometown of Philadelphia, where she practiced her Chinese while doing everyday tasks like shopping and eating at restaurants. By doing this, she was able to experience firsthand more of the Chinese culture, language, and cuisine that cannot be experienced through a screen. With these experiences, Ambria frequently reflected on how different her life in America was from those of her friends in China and often thinks about how she can integrate more Chinese culture and language into her daily life.
CEE Title: The Importance of Learning a Second Language
Our CEE was called “The Importance of Learning a Second Language”. All four women in our cohort from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford either took a course centered on learning a foreign language, or learning a foreign language was not the focus but was still a component in succeeding in the course. The first few slides of our presentation were about both the individual benefits, such as increasing cognitive ability and memory and how these benefit the community as a whole. The next slides were about each of our individual experiences in our courses, and our takeaways, apart from the actual content of the course. For me, I gained 3 friends who are from China, who I still talk to and exchange both language and culture with; we learn new things about each other and our homes all the time. The last slide was our call to our campus, asking for more foreign language and culture courses so that others can experience what we did over the summer. Finally, our guest speaker shared about her program, which taught Chinese painting and calligraphy at schools, universities, and even workplaces to share that part of Chinese culture with others of all ages and backgrounds. After questions, it was clear that we had met our goal: we reached the interim president of our campus, and he agreed with us that more language and culture courses at our campus would be beneficial.