In Maymester 2019, Dr. Anja Lange from the Herbst Program returned to Xi’an, China with a new group of 12 CU students. Dr. Lange’s course is designed for students with no Chinese language skills, or even experience abroad. The objective is to expose students to the unique cultural heritage of China, acknowledging, and indeed exploiting, the fact that they will be seeing it through Western eyes. This approach has proven to greatly enrich the students’ experience of both Chinese and their own Western culture. The course was developed with the generous support of the CAS Tang Family Endowment and has been conducted five times since 2008.
The trip begins with visits to rural villages, followed by two weeks on the campus of Xi’an Jiaotong University, where students study Chinese art, literature, and history. It concludes with a few days in the capital of Beijing. Xi’an is known for the Terra Cotta army, as the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism, and for being the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, ending at the famed Muslim market.
Dr. Lange writes,
“We want to thank our Chinese peers and professors from the English Department and the Undergraduate College at Jiaotong University, who become part of our daily discussions. Their participation engages everyone in lively and intriguing joint sessions. Not only do we have insightful exchanges about the classroom texts, but the discussions help break down cultural and political barriers. As always, long lasting friendships are created between the students. Traveling through time and space, students learn to appreciate ancient Chinese history and learn about the dynamics of the modern state. We learn that good conversations also inform us about who we are and how we can co-exist in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.”