Monday, February 29, 2016

Meet Our New Chinese Scholar

Ellen Gao and Chinese language students Karlee Hicks and Brady Duncan.
Gao Yang, who goes by Ellen Gao here, is new to the Nashville area, but she has already made five trips to the United States, visiting relatives and getting ready for her latest assignment. Gao is the new Chinese visiting professor of language and culture on the Vol State campus. She joins us for the next few years as part of the Confucius Institute program at MTSU. The Confucius Institute is an international Chinese project to share faculty with colleges and universities across the globe. It's coordinated here as part of International Education. You may remember that we have had three Chinese scholars at Vol State in the program thus far. It has been exciting to see the benefits of the program. Vol State has three levels of Chinese language classes going this year, including, for the first time, an advanced level.

“To my delight these students all have plans to go to China,” Gao said. “If they complete level three and successfully apply for a scholarship, they can study in China for a year with all expenses paid.”

The Hanban Institute in China runs the program. The goal of the Confucius Institute is not only to have Chinese scholars teaching at American colleges, but also foster an exchange of ideas and cultures.

“My students don’t know much about China, but they do have a lot of curiosity. I want to nurture that interest. I love the dynamics in my classes. I feel that they have strong enthusiasm and motivation. It’s not just about learning the language. We have a lot of fun.”

Vol State will offer Chinese language classes again in the fall.

Gao is the daughter of professors, who moved around China from university to university. She considers home to be Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, a city of seven million people in Northeastern China. She is an assistant professor of Language at Hanban Institute. You can find her in our directory under Ellen Yang.

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