OSU’s Chinese Flagship students spent Sept. 5-12, 2010 in Guizhou working with Guizhou Rural Tourism Development Center, Guizhou Province Tourism Bureau and Guizhou Normal University on the World Bank loan supported “Guizhou Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection and Development Project.”
The 8-day event gave students an opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities including:
- Participation in the “Preserving and Developing Cultural Heritages through Performance” aspect of the project which took place at a Yao nationality village in Yaolu and a Boyi nationality village in Xiabaiyan. Students learned Yao folk songs and a Yao hunting dance from the Yao children and taught the children to perform some American children songs including “Itsy bitsy Spider” and “I’m a little teapot”. Students stayed overnight in the villages and experienced firsthand traditional ways of life and “rural tourism.”
- Consulting and translating as bilingual and cross-cultural presentation experts in Guizhou’s preparation for the reception of and report to the World Bank Delegation led by the World Bank president Mr. Robert Zoellick. OSU Students helped with the design, translation and production of all the speeches, reports, brochures, posters, exhibition displays, PowerPoint and video presentations, and event procedure and setting. The students put forth a commendable effort working nearly 12 hours per day during the entire week.
- Working as performers, announcers and interpreters welcoming banquets and other presentations to the World Bank Delegation. Our students and their respective Chinese partners worked as “guides” at various performance/exhibition spots the World Bank Delegation visited—while the Chinese students (most of whom were students in an English training program by former Flagship interns) spoke in English and made their introductions to the World Bank Delegation, our students made announcement and introduction in Chinese to the accompanying Chinese officials. Also, during a roundtable discussion, our students prepared questions in both Chinese and English for the benefit of both sides. Prof. Xiaobin Jian served as interpreter for the World Bank president and the executive vice governor of Guizhou province and also interpreted on several occasions for the World Bank president when he was interacting with some village representatives.
The weeklong event was designed to be a “Pre-internship Workshop” for OSU’s Capstone year students, with an objective of preparing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to start working in a Chinese workplace as professionals. By actually involving the students in a real project that has real impacts and consequences and by allowing them to work closely with Chinese partners one-to-one or in small groups, students experienced first-hand the Chinese considerations, strategies, organization and operation behind such a political, social and cultural event. Through the director’s close observation and supervision, students also received real-time feedback and directions on how move forward and resolve issues. This invaluable experience also allowed students to learn how to work closely with Chinese colleagues as well as how to effectively work as part of a Chinese organization instead of just a distanced foreign observer.
OSU Flagship’s relationship with this project dates back to 2005 when Ms Yang Shengming, then Director General of the Guizhou Province Tourism Bureau, and Ms. Zhang Xiaosong, Professor of Anthropology and Chinese at Guizhou Normal University and Director of Guizhou Rural Tourism Development Center, went to the World Bank’s headquarter in Washington DC to present their case. Ohio State’s Professor Xiaobin Jian assisted with creating their PowerPoint presentation in both Chinese and English and interpreted for their presentation and the following Q&A discussion at the World Bank headquarter.
Since 2006, there have been 9 Chinese Flagship interns working on various aspects of the project. These interns are: Abby Southland (OSU), Julie Star (OSU), Kate Szewczyk (OSU), Patrick Longerbaker (OSU), Mei Yeh (BYU), Paul Schnaars (OSU), Shawn Newcomer (OSU), Carl Brinton (BYU), and Gloria Gong (BYU).