April-June 09





Global Exchange Newsletter
April - June 2009

Welcome to our Global Exchange Newsletter 2009 April ¨C June edition

In This Edition:

- Excellence Award 2009 for customer satisfaction in LanugageCourse.net
- Hosting Study Abroad Tours for two groups from Salisbury University, USA

Students Activities: Kara-ok

- New section: Connecting with Alumni: first interview with Peter Tacken who is working in Rotterdam now.
- Get to know Global Exchange: Teacher Interview of Ms. Song Yan, our teacher in Yantai program
- Interview with students:
Ms. Ylenia Castaldi and Ms. Jessica Ametrano, two students from Italia
Mr. Rik Recourt who just graduated from high school and is taking worldwide tours

2009 Excellence Award: Global Exchange Education Center

Every year LanguageCourse.net, a Barcelona based company that lists and books language courses worldwide, requests evaluations from over 1000 students worldwide in order to gather customer feedback on the language schools listed on its website. It highlights schools that receive high levels of positive ratings for service and quality to help its viewers find the best options available. In March 2009, we were honored to receive Languagecourse.net¡¯s 2009 Excellence Award for the several positive ratings we received from our Beijing customers! Thank you for your support!

Read more

Salisbury University Study Tours

In May and June 2009, Global Exchange Center acted as a host and program coordinator for two groups of students and teachers from Salisbury University¡¯s Perdue Business School and Nursing School, located in the US state of Maryland.

A group of ten nursing school students led by Dr. McDowell arrived in Beijing on May 23rd for our language and cultural crash course in order to enhance their culture understanding and prepare them for daily life in China. They quickly learned several of the most commonly used Chinese phrases, key grammar points, and the basic writing structure of Chinese characters. We were honored to be a part of Salisbury Nursing School¡¯s first study abroad trip in China!

On June 2nd, they returned to Beijing after receiving training in Yi-Chang, located in Hubei province. The students enjoyed taking sightseeing cultural tours around Beijing, visiting the Great Wall, Bird¡¯s Nest Olympic Stadium, the Forbidden City and of course, seeing pandas at the Beijing Zoo. One of the highlights of their trip was visiting Ya-xiu (also known as the Cotton Market) for a shopping trip where they bought traditional Chinese swords as souvenirs.

Salisbury¡¯s Perdue Business School has been sending study groups to China for the last 5 years to expose them to the Chinese market and improve their international business skills. Global Exchange Center acted as their local tour organizer in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. This year, a group of 22 consisting of 16 students and 6 faculty members, first received two weeks of instruction at a university in the city of Dalian. Afterwards, they explored Shanghai, China¡¯s financial center, for three days through tours stopping at places like the upcoming World Expo site, the APEC conference center, and the iconic Oriental Pearl TV tower. Finally they enjoyed a pleasant evening river cruise on the Huang Pu River.

After enjoying Shanghai, they moved on to Beijing on June 9th. With its rich cultural heritage, Beijing offered a more historical experience with its traditional art and architecture. After a training seminar, they were able to tour Peking University, China¡¯s top school, and enjoy its beautiful campus.

Improve your Chinese by singing in the classroom!

Singing songs in Chinese is a fantastic way to build a new connection to the language and help you progress. In order to supplement our student¡¯s language training, our teachers often utilize both traditional and pop songs to supplement our cultural lessons. Every year, we have groups of students enthusiastically practicing ¡°Mo Li Hua¡± (Two Tigers), ¡°Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni¡± (Beijing welcomes you), ¡°Lao Shu Ai Da Mi¡± (mouse loves rice) and of course, the always popular ¡°Peng You¡± (friends). Typically, songs are covered once a week in our classrooms to add variety to the learning experience. Our teachers really get a kick out of singing with their students!

All of this practice comes in handy. If you want to socialize, make friends, network or relax in China, there is no better way than to go to a KTV bar (karaoke) and sing your heart out as you enjoy this essential aspect of the Chinese cultural experience. Chinese people of all shapes and sizes flock to KTV for lots of occasions, such as birthdays, entertaining new business colleagues, or simply just to have fun. Once a month, our teachers take our students out for our popular ¡°KTV Night¡±, where they eat, drink, and sing Western and Chinese songs late into the evening.

Connecting with our alumni
Alumni Interview:

Name::Mr. Peter Jan Tacken
When he was in Global Exchange Center program:: summer 2007
Current profession: Secretary/Vice-President of the Economic Faculty association Rotterdam (EFR), student union of the Erasmus School of Economics
Current Residence: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Erasmus University Rotterdam is a university in the Netherlands, located in Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the second largest municipality in the Netherlands after the capital, Amsterdam. The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe and was the world's busiest port from 1962 to 2004, until it was overtaken by Shanghai.

Tell us more what you are doing in Netherlands? Are you full time students in EUR?
At this moment I am in the Board of the student union. This is a full time position, so that means no studies this year. In September I will start my Master of Science in Economics at the Erasmus School of Economics. During my Master I will spend a few months in Paris, France.
Besides studying I love to play sports. I am part of the Lacrosse team of the Erasmus University, last year we became national champion in the Netherlands. Because of that we joined the Euro Cup for Lacrosse teams in Hamburg October 2008. It was a great experience for the team.

Tell us a little about how your the board of the student union of E U R functions? in Chinese universities, many students organizations run by students based upon their interests or hobby. Is yours same?
In the Netherlands there are a lot of student organizations. We have some different categories. There are student organizations for just the social part, for making friends and to have fun. We have the study associations which are linked to the studies and faculties (like the Economic Faculty association Rotterdam). Last but not least, we have student sport organizations. All these student organizations are run by students.

The EFR, in which I am active right now, is focusing on extra curricular activities for the economic oriented students. We organize congresses, political debates, workshops, recruitment event with international companies and exchanges to other European universities. We also take care of the incoming international students from around the world. We arrange a buddy for them which guides the new student around the city and the country. A few weeks ago the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, visited the EUR. The EFR organized the congress which he visited.

Many people in China know Rotterdam and its Chinese name, but very few people really know its current developments. Could you?
Rotterdam is a vibrant city in the Netherlands. It has developed because of the trade with the rest of the world. It has the largest port of Europe and used to be the biggest of the world for decades. It is the second largest city in the Netherlands and one of the most important economic centers of the country.

It has been near two years since you left our center and Beijing. Could you tell us more about how your learning experiences in China effected you and your current work?
My studies at the Global Exchange Education Center made me realize the cultural differences around the world. I was in a fantastic international group of people. The language is still really hard, but Chinese people in the Netherlands are flabbergasted when I start talking Chinese with them. They always ask me where I learned it and gets me in contact with a lot of Chinese students.

Today, when you look back your time in Beijing two years ago, Do you have any suggestions to our center on how to improve our program and to better service to our students?
I heard the center has a new office in Beijing! I would love to see the new location. My time was so good in 2007, I would love to come back soon. The housing was really good and I saw the renewed website, which looks really good. I would love to hear more from the centre in the future!

Do you have any comments to someone who is considering to take our program in near future?
You can find more information about the EFR at www.efr.nl.

Get to know Global Exchange

Teacher's Name: Ms. Song Yan
Works in: Yantai

Tell us a little about your home city-Yantai please:
Yantai is a beautiful costal city in eastern Shangdong peninsular, boasting of both traditional culture and a modern life. You will always be spoiled for choice here. A high quality of life is enjoyed by Yantai people thanks to its clean air, nice food and a lot of scenic spots. As a modern city full of colors and excitement. Yantai is open to people from all around the world.

Tell us a little about your self and your background?
£¨Education and work£©

I graduated from Lu Dong university in Yantai as a student of English , Well grounded in English culture and fluent in English speaking. After graduation, I worked a few months teaching foreign people Chinese ,for which I have a great passion.

Why do you like to teach foreigners Chinese? What you have enjoyed most in your teaching? What was the most difficult part of it?
First, as a fluent English speaker, teaching foreigners English provides a very good opportunity to make the best use of my English competence and my solid foundation in Chinese.
Secondly, this job offers me some access to personal experiencing of foreign culture.
Thirdly ,in doing this job ,I have made a lot of comparison and contrast of different way of thinking, learning to respect culture diversity. Teaching words is the part I enjoy doing most
Phonetics is the most difficult part to teach

Do you feel that Chinese is a difficult language to teach?
No, not really. Patience, good teaching method, good command of English as well as Chinese is the essential requirements to teach Chinese well. besides, you have to grasp some foreign culture to communicate well with the students

What is your hobby or passion?
Traveling can always lead me to a lot of interesting discoveries. I revel in doing it as it really broadens my horizon and it always add flavor to our life.

Interview with students
Names: Ms. Ylenia Castaldi and Ms. Jessica Ametrano
Country from: Italia
Time in our program Beijing, China: 8 weeks from March 2, 2009
Education: University students in Italy

Could you tell us a little about your background and what you did before coming to China?
Before we came to china we studied Chinese language and culture at La Sapienza University in Rome for three years. Ylenia had been in England for a month to improve her English language. Jessica had been in Florida for three months and in Irleand for one month.

What are main reasons for you to decide to come to Beijing to take Chinese course?

We decided to come to Beijing and take a Chinese course because we want improves our Chinese speaking. In Italy we don't have so many possibilities to speak Chinese.

Do you have a special hobby or passion?

Ylenia is interested in dance and sports in general, music and likes read about oriental culture.
Jessica loves to do any kind of sport. she is interested in Yoga meditation. she likes really much read poetry and in particular Shakesperare. and, of course, she loves learning about chinese languages and its evolution from the past.

Tell us breifly what you are doing in China?
We are writing our thesis.
Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing? How do you compare life in Beijing to your home country?
The only one memorable experience was last saturday when we visited the Great Wall. We walked for the whole day, about 10 km. and if, finally, we were really tired it was a wonderful experience. The most exciting thing was when we get down from the great wall by a cable car, with just empty space under our feet.

If we compared to our country with Beijing. We don't like too much noise, the traffic and the weather that is too umid and, specially, the sky is often grey.

And also people drive not very good so you've always to be really careful crossing the road. And moreover there is a costume that is not so delightful to us, many people usually spit out.
What are your best memories of living here in Beijing?
When we took a little cart to get to the subway station from the forbidden city!!
Has your experience here in China changed you?
yes, of course. this experience made us more sure about our skills and our capacities with a foreign language, and now we know that in the future we will able also to adapt ourselves to something really different from our reality.
Did your time in Chinse program in Beijing help you reach your professional and personal goals?
School organization is really good. I like very much teachears and classmates. everyone is very polite with us. and especially Rosemary has resolved many our problems. Lessons are very useful and we have learned a lot of new and interesting things about not just Chinese language but also about everyday's life and culture.
What do you find most interesting in Beijing?
We had found very interesting visit the hutong and see how people live there.
What advice would you give for those thinking of coming here?
we advice them to lear a little bit of Chinee before coming here, because few people can speak english and communication is too hard.

Names: Mr. Rik Recourt
Country from: Netherlands
Time in our program Beijing, China: 4 weeks from June 1, 2009
Education: just graduated from high school and will go to university soon

Could you tell us a little about your background and what you did before coming to China?
I lived in the Netherlands for the first 18 years of my life and after finishing high school I decided to take a gap year and travel around the world with a so called ¡°world ticket¡±. With this ticket I already went to The States, Australia and New Zealand and right now I'm in China, studying Chinese at global exchange.

What are main reasons for you to decide to come to Beijing to take Chinese course?
I choose to study Chinese in Beijing because I wanted to do something different, especially after travelling through The states, Australia and New Zealand for a pretty long time I really wanted to experience a non-western culture. Another reason was that I wanted stay in one particular place for a longer period of time and not to move around all the time. And of course I also choose China because it's fascinating culture and to learn things about it's fast growing economy and people!

Do you have a special hobby or passion?
Travelling!! :P

Tell us briefly what you are doing in China?

I'm doing a language course here in Beijing for one month while experiencing this wonderful city, after this I'm going onward by train to Hong Kong where I will stay for another week.

Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing? How do you compare life in Beijing to your home country?
I just love to go to the school in the morning, to just walk with the masses that go to work, to the subway and to buy a delicious breakfast on the streets.

What are your best memories of living here in Beijing?
To eat ¡°a la carte¡± in restaurants literally all of the time because it's so incredible cheap (sometimes 1 or 2 euros for a complete meal!).

Has your experience here in China changed you?
I don't really know if it changed me, but it has certainly changed my views on Beijing, unlike I expected Beijing actually feels as an incredible safe place and also much more modern, another thing was that surprised me is that not that many people in Beijing can speak English, but this helped me learn Chinese much more faster .

Did your time in Chinese program in Beijing help you reach your professional and personal goals?
I had no other goal then to enjoy myself and to learn about Chinese culture and I completely succeeded in that!

What do you find most interesting in Beijing?
Definitely the people, their mentality is so different then that from Dutch people.