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Home>Articles>Special Report

The Confucius Institute and Me

Timothy Michael Brown 2018-03-29

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park has broadened my passion for the language and culture of China. My first introduction to the Confucius Institute was in Xiamen, China. I have visited China twice. I learned so much about the country and I was able to use my Mandarin. I later recognized the Confucius Institute is one unit that assists non-Chinese speaking people with learning Chinese language and culture. This exposure revealed to me what I needed to succeed with my plans.

My earliest exposure to the Chinese culture began when I was 3 years old and my mother enrolled me in Wu-Shu in Silver Spring, Maryland. I was 10 years old when I achieved my black belt. The 7 years I spent working toward my black belt helped me with physical strength and flexibility, self-discipline, and respect for self and others. At the age of 5, my father enrolled me in my first Mandarin Chinese class and I have been learning it ever since. I am now 12 years old and preparing for the Chinese Language test. I like Mandarin and want to be able to communicate in the number one spoken language in the world. My family knew of the Confucius Institute; my parents started to contact Confucius Institute for my goal.

I currently attend the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland which is the first Confucius Institute in the United States of America. I learn at the CIM as many as three or four times a week and sometimes weekends. I love my Mandarin teachers because they relate so well to me and the other children. They keep me engaged in learning. The CIM is like a second home to me. They make me feel so special! My parents, my Aunt Natalie and my grandparents are impressed with the leadership and management at the CIM. They have read that speaking a second language boosts cognitive, memory and listening skills which will help me to have better career prospects. CIM is making this possible. My parents often speak to the director of CIM, Mr. Cui, about my plans. CIM has created a platform to demonstrate what I have learned, for example, I was honored to represent the CIM in the annual Mandarin Bridge Competition at the University of Maryland. I placed third! Also the director and teachers encouraged me to enter the Global Spring Festival Gala online. I sang Chinese songs and showcased my Kung Fu, for this I received an award. In addition, I attended the Chinese Moon Festival and Chinese New Year with CIM. Both celebrations were most enjoyable from the entertainment to the food. I had a great time.

Besides learning Chinese, some of my personal activities include playing the game Go and Table Tennis. I played on three basketball teams this year and Li Ning basketball shoes are my favorite. I also created a game named TING to help non-Chinese speakers learn basic Mandarin, as part of a summer camp program. I want to use the game to help the other students at CIM. My favorite thing is eating Peking duck, especially in Beijing!

CIM has provided the opportunity for many of my friends to learn Mandarin as well. The CIM inspires me to strive for excellence. I look forward to my upcoming challenges and opportunities that the CIM will provide for me. The CIM has laid the foundation for my success. I enjoy learning with the CIM, from the director to the teachers, and the supportive environment they generate.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland

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