With the coming of the new semester comes, of course, the advancement of my Chinese language studies. I will be taking Chinese 300 (4th year) with Professor Bodman. Professor Bodman is a retired St. Olaf faculty Asian Studies department member, who ended his ("official") time with St. Olaf after 26 years of teaching. This year he has come back to teach my Chinese language class.
Before we have even started the class, he sent out two short bibliographies of his life and the reasons why he chose Asian Studies as his academic discipline. He grew up in
While he is a non-native Taiwanese or Chinese person, I think his integrated foreign and native history will play a large role in our upcoming studies. His experiences as the "other" growing up in what we consider "the other" can help us switch our mindset from the "American" way of thinking to a more "Chinese" way of thinking, a change that cannot be underestimated in language learning.
While previously my language courses were structured from dialogues and essays in vocabulary-specific textbooks, Bodman hopes to add multiple guest lectures, movies, and literature to our Chinese learning experience. With this change of structure will come new challenges to face, not only at the academic level, but also it’s important to my interests in Asian studies. I will be able to explore more ideas in a more sophisticated way, armed with better fluency in a language that I did not learn in my childhood. I will have the chance to start opening up to the relationship between language and culture in a more specific way - being able to read more complex essays and hold better interviews with Chinese natives. In all, I look forward to changing my investment into a love that can push my progress to achieving native-like fluency forward!