Sabrina Tran 2018-03-29
I’ve been learning Chinese for over 10 years now, and yet, the language and culture never fails to surprise me. The stories behind every idiom and the pictures that so many characters evolved from show how much thought and depth exists in the Chinese language. In order to broaden my understanding of Chinese language and culture, I had to reach out. I was excited to see that Chinese was offered as a course at my high school and readily signed up for the class. Walking into class on the first day felt like I was entering a small piece of China. Our class taught Mandarin through the Confucius Institute, and as a result, I found myself constantly submerged in the Chinese culture. Over the next few years, walking into this classroom would mean 45 minutes of building friendships, gaining knowledge and observing Confucian principles. We discussed a wide range of topics from philosophy to where to find good food in China. I loved every second of it.
Confucius Classroom at Enloe sponsored by the Confucius Institute at NC State has taught me to embrace my passion and to be proud of what I do. I was introduced to table tennis in the 5th grade and slowly developed a great passion for the sport. I played at local clubs and trained seriously through middle school and as a result, made numerous friends. However, I was never brave enough to talk to my friends at school about it for fear of ridicule and judgement. After joining my Chinese class at Enloe, I found that the majority of my classmates were also interested in table tennis. During breaks and after school, many of my friends would challenge me to a game of ping pong. An interest developed within our school, and I organized a school table tennis league. Through my classmates’ encouragement and support, our league grew in popularity, and other people came to enjoy the sport that I’ve always loved. A passion that I was slightly embarrassed about before became a source of pride for me. I competed in tournaments all over the US, and decided to travel to Shenzhen during the summer to train. I was so motivated that I decided to participate in the American Table Tennis Olympic Trials. Although I lost by a sizeable margin, I will never forget about the support of my classmates Confucius Classroom at Enloe and the courage that their friendship gave me.
Through Cl at NC State, I challenged myself both socially, and academically. I entered NC State’s annual Chinese essay writing competition in 2015 and 2016 and won 4th and 2nd respectively. It was exciting to see my progress as I slowly improved upon my skills as a communicator. Chinese quickly became more enjoyable and more rewarding.
To me, the Confucian ideals are not just a set of antiquated social codes. They were created in order to promote love, respect, and compassion; they encourage us not only to learn, but to love learning, to love our teachers, and to love our peers. Through this, I learned that there’s something to learn from everyone, and that being humble is not a sign of weakness. I finally understood why all the adults would fight for the check after eating dinner together or why family was considered to be so important. These tiny nuances in the Chinese culture finally became clear to me as I began to look at everything in a new light. Chinese culture was extremely influential in my development as it gave me not only a set of morals to live by, but also a group of people who I know will always encourage me to do my best. I will never forget my experiences at Confucius Institute.
The Confucius Classroom at Enloe sponsored by the Confucius Institute at North Carolina State University