International students teach Chinese culture

By Cati Keith
Guest Writer
ckeith2@lhup.edu

October 25, 2012

Photo courtesy of Maggie Oliver
Lingjing Wang playing a traditional Chinese concerto during Culture through Coffee at Avenue 209.

People of all ages sat around the comfortable atmosphere of Avenue 209 as two Chinese students from Lock Haven University gave presentations on their home country. The first to present was Lingjing Wang, a full time student and music major; the second to present was Justin Yuichi Shen, an exchange student from Lock Haven University’s partner school, Changsha University of Science and Technology.

Lingjing played the song “Butterfly Lovers” on her violin, on the stage of the café. This traditional Chinese folk song told a beautiful and emotional love story. Many people enjoyed Lingjing’s performance, including Meeghan Ferringer, a freshman Secondary Education major, who said, “Lingjing’s performance was the most amazing thing I ever heard.”

After the performance, Lingjing told the audience that the story took place in her city, Hangzhou, China. There is a lake at the center of the city, where there is a beautiful bridge and a temple. This is the place where the tale of the Butterfly Lovers takes place. The story is known as Liang Zhu in Chinese, and is similar to William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” even though Liang Zhu was written much earlier during the Jin Dynasty.

Justin talked about his city and the university he attends in his presentation. His city is Changsha, which is in the central region of China.

Justin was glad to share about his country because he said, “It’s really beneficial for us to know about other cultures. It allows people to see how China really is. I can practice my English and I can make friends.”

Changsha city is known as “star city,” because it is the home of the entertainment and music industry. A national television station is based in Changsha. The city is also famous because it is where Chairman Mao Zedong lived. Popular dishes from the area are stinky tofu and spicy shrimp. Justin told the audience that the most popular thing in Changsha is the firework display. Every Saturday night there are firework shows from 8:00-8:30 p.m., over the river in Changsha.

The University that Justin attends, Changsha University of Science and Technology, has two very large campuses. Justin told the audience that the campuses’ are so big that trains, like those at Hershey Park, are used to transport people to where they need to go. The campus that Justin attends was built very recently. Some unique features of this campus are a man-made lake and a man-made mountain, which is made to look like a real one in Changsha.

Eniye Gbabo, President of the International Student Association and sophomore at Lock Haven University, really enjoyed Justin’s presentation. She said, “I thought it was cool that his university built a mountain; who’s ever heard about that?”

The Lock Haven Institute for International Studies held the Culture Through Coffee program.

“We pick a place by trying to think of what will be interesting as well as what students would be interested in presenting on their home country. An interactive program is always good,” said Maggie Oliver, Graduate Assistant at the Institute for International Studies office. The next Culture Through Coffee will be about Italy, and will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Avenue 209.

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