Anoka-Ramsey Community College students have the opportunity to learn the Chinese language and culture from Li Tong, an exchange faculty member who teaches English and linguistics at the college's sister school, Zhaoqing University in Zhaoqing, China.
Li was chosen among several of her colleagues to teach in the United States for the 2007-2008 school year. Her goal is to share her language and culture with Americans while simultaneously being immersed in American culture and the English language to enhance her teaching in China.
"I feel it is my responsibility to share my culture and language with the rest of the world," says Li.
Li Tong (seated), the current Chinese exchange faculty member at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and her daughter, Yang Xiao in their native country. Li hopes, that with the support of the community, she will be able to bring her daughter to the U.S. to experience American culture prior to returning to China.
Li, who holds a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in English education from Harbin Normal University in China, misses her husband and 13-year-old daughter who await her return to China while she participates in the exchange program.
"This faculty exchange program is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn the language and culture from a native-speaking Chinese person," says Luanne Kane, Dean of Educational Services at the college. "Tong is able to teach about China in a way unique to someone who has spent their entire life submersed in that culture."
Since arriving in the U.S., Li has experienced several aspects of American life, including attending a funeral, a horse race, the State Fair, a barbecue, a Czech Festival, a picnic, concerts and a happy hour. She was also curious about fried foods and has found there is an abundance of it.
"Everyone here is very kind, and I've had a very positive experience so far."
Li is the eighth faculty member from Zhaoqing University to come to the college in an effort to promote intercultural understanding. Since the establishment of this exchange relationship in 1994, the college has sent five of its faculty to teach and nearly 40 students to study at the Chinese University. In addition, a group from the City of Coon Rapids and college staff traveled to Zhaoqing, China in 2001, and developed a sister relationship between the two cities.
"Tong will be a guest lecturer in many of college classrooms during her stay, and she has excited about the prospect of speaking at off-campus events as well, such as schools, businesses and churches," says Kane.
For more information about the Chinese exchange program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College or to arrange to have Li speak at your organization, contact Kane at 763-433-1297 or email.
ABOUT ANOKA-RAMSEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Anoka-Ramsey Community College, with campuses in Cambridge and Coon Rapids, has been a leading provider of higher education and training in East Central Minnesota since 1978 and the north suburban area of Minneapolis/St. Paul since 1965. Annually, the college serves more than 9,800 learners of all ages as they pursue associate degrees that transfer as the first two years of a bachelor's degree, or certificate programs that lead immediately to rewarding careers. ARCC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.