New Chinese classes aim to enrich community

Andrea Hammack

Staff Writer

With the new semester comes new opportunities for the Chinese Culture Club to educate those in the community who are looking to learn a new language or more about Chinese culture in general.

The Chinese Culture Club hosts a variety of classes and activities each semester for all ages. 

Austin Deal, an administrative support specialist within the Center for International Languages and Culture, works with the club and elaborated on the classes that are currently being offered. 

“Firstly, we have the Chinese Culture Club,” Deal said. “We meet every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. and generally alternate between activities such as how to make Chinese dumplings, traditional Chinese instruments and making Chinese bracelets.

“Those are for free — anybody can come. Even if you’re not a student or related to the university.” 

Emails are typically sent out each week stating what activities will be done that particular week, and anyone is encouraged to attend and participate. 

Deal also mentioned the more in-depth classes being taught at the university. 

“We also offer a Tai Chi class and a beginning and intermediate Mandarin language and culture course for both adults and K-12,” Deal said. “Those are $50 per person, per semester and are all non-credit. 

“It’s just for your own personal gain.”

The language and culture courses are generally one-on-one and taught by a visiting scholar.

Though there has not been a massive growth in the number of people who participate, the numbers are steady and include a wide range of people.

Deal said there were many Troy locals who have taken advantage of these courses, “We have a guy in insurance, Perry Green; we have a local real estate agent and a landlord, as well, who take those courses.” 

Perry Green, vice president of Life and Health at The Witherington Insurance Group, is a Troy native and has participated in the Chinese language courses since January 2018. 

“I learned about them from some of the scholars at the Center for International Languages and Culture,” Green said. “My motivation was simply to be able to speak to the Chinese students in their language.

“This is both a personal and professional benefit. If you can at least greet someone in their own language, it lets them know you are interested in them personally.”

Green explained what a typical class was like for him under the instruction of Dr. Rui Zhang, “The class time is much like any other class except I have enjoyed a one on one relationship with my instructor, Dr. Rui Zhang.

“There is instruction with time for questions, feedback, and vocabulary practice.”

Green also spoke of how the class has reinforced his belief that “we are all more alike than we often think.

“Being able to spend time with people from other countries and cultures helps us to appreciate more of the similarities, as well as the differences.”

Deal encourages anyone who wants to learn about a different culture, or simply learn Chinese, to take advantage of the resources offered. 

“Anybody that just wants to try out something new and learn more, I would suggest they come here,” Deal said. “We’re very flexible, if somebody wants to sign up halfway through the semester, we’ve always allowed it.

“That’s why we (the department) exist, to promote Chinese language and culture.”

“Meeting the people and learning about the different customs is the most rewarding aspect of my association with the Chinese Culture Club,” Green said. “I would certainly encourage anyone of any age to participate in any of the classes and/or activities provided.”

To sign up for any of the courses mentioned, or for more information, contact Yunpeng Zu, Center for International Languages and Culture, over the phone at 334-808-6513 or at 

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