Christina Pierre 2018-03-29
I first began learning Mandarin Chinese in tenth grade when a friend asked me if I would take a dual enrollment course with her. Although I thought Chinese was too difficult to learn, I decided to take it with her, and to this day I am happy I made that decision. Now I am in college, and learning the language has been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.
When I think about learning Mandarin Chinese, the first word that comes to mind is family. Family is one of the most important values in Chinese culture, and it is the first thing I gained while studying at the Confucius Institute. Both the staff and the students have become my extended family. Although many of us have never taken the same classes, just the fact that we are learning this beautiful language together has given us a bond like no other. They guide and help me achieve my goals. The guidance of my service learning mentor and Confucius Institute director Jim Yu has allowed me to complete over one hundred hours of service-learning in addition to winning the PVSA (President’s Volunteer Service Award), and start my own club dedicated to Chinese culture: a Chinese Culture Club. I was able to teach other students and even some teachers about Chinese food, movies, Taiji, music, and eating with chopsticks. Members are able to enjoy learning about the culture in a fun way, while still learning some of the language.
At C.I. learning Chinese is not just done in a classroom, there are many opportunities to learn in a hands on way. I participated in the “Unveiling of the Confucius Statue” held at North Campus, the Concert Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, “Chinese Silk” where I danced, choreographed (with the help of MDC’s Dance Plus president Rikia Taylor) and sang alongside Chinese pop star A-Zheng and his father Tian Feng. Another opportunity that gave me a big push was my participation in the FIU Chinese Speech Competition. I first competed while I was a level three studentand won second place, and then competed again while I was in level five; once again winning second place. I am able to see my growth as a Chinese speaker and was glad that others could see it as well. Through the Confucius Institute I was awarded a scholarship to study in China for a year. I am so ecstatic to be leaving in a few months to study in a country as diverse and beautiful as China.
All in all, Chinese is the one things that has remained constant for me the past two and a half years of my life, and I’m not sure where I would be if I did not. It has given me an extended family and amazing opportunities to grow and blossom. I know that no matter what happens in the future Chinese is something that I will love forever.
The Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College