Program Philosophy

The instruction in this program is based on training you to become an expert acquirer of Chinese language and culture. Our working assumption is this: For you to become truly proficient in Chinese, you will have to spend countless hours in meaningful contact with Chinese people. The process of updating and refining your skills in Chinese depends on your ability to sustain productive relationships with Chinese who may not be particularly interested in people and events outside of China. For you to maintain this contact, you have to be able to make your Chinese counterparts comfortable with you and avoid requiring them to accommodate you. For your interactions to be meaningful, you have to be able to share goals and comprehend the values of your interlocutors.

Intentions play a large role in this process. You have to recognize the intentions of Chinese people and be able to establish your intentions with them. Culture plays an extensive role in determining which intentions can be realized in such relationships. Therefore, the study and appreciation of culture—from the behaviors of daily life to the highest expressions of civilizations—will be at the base of your study of Chinese in our program.