Opportunities for Zhejiang Province, China and Maui County, Hawaii

Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University and visiting University of Hawaii Maui College administrators and faculties meet for talks

Recently, University of Hawaii Maui College colleagues came to visit Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University here in Lin’an, China.

UHMC visiting faculty at the welcoming luncheon: Liping Liu, Jan & Randall Moore, Dr. Cathy Thompson, and because we are at ZAFU this year, Barry and I

The feast at the ZAFU third floor cafeteria

The ZAFU and UHMC discussions explored several ideas of how our schools could become more closely linked.

ZAFU administrators including Claudia and the newly appointed Director of the International Office, Professor Kathy Fang

Our UHMC participants

We discussed both predictable but also innovative possibilities.   For instance, an important opportunity for U.S.  students wanting to learn Chinese is to  come here to ZAFU; it is a good and an affordable choice.  Students receive six hours of classroom instruction four days a  week in small classes with students from around the world.  Those coming to study Mandarin are on the ZAFU campus with 22,000 Chinese speaking students.  So there is plenty of opportunity to practice this  complex  and increasingly useful language and become familiar with the Chinese culture.  Tuition is about $2,500 a year.  See http://school.cucas.edu.cn/HomePage/159/ for more information.

A typical small and friendly ZAFU Mandarin class: students are from Italy, Belgium, Ghana, Holland, Indonesia, the U.S. and Japan

Other possible connections include:

Sustainability projects – Maui and Zhejiang have the bamboo.  The Bamboo Foundation http://www.bamboocentral.org/ and the Green School http://www.greenschool.org/ are good models of what has already been done to use bamboo in building and more. On Maui, David Sands has already gotten approval and built five model bamboo housesHe is involved with the International Bamboo Foundation: P.O. 790716 Paia, HI  phone: 808-572-8129.  See the website at http://www.bamboocentral.org/hawaii.html  It seems like our colleges could and should get involved in this essential path for  sustainable  for the future.

Tea Culture Promotion – ZAFU is the only university in China that has a tea culture major.  Tea is an essential element of Chinese culture (as well as for the Japanese).  Both have made tea an art.  Students  training in tea culture  here at ZAFU give performances  in Lin’an, Hangzhou and beyond.

Tea ceremony presentation for UHMC faculty

ZAFU Tea master, Liping, and Dean Kathy

These  rich  cultural experiences could, for instance, be brought to Maui for  presentations at high-end hotels such as  The Makena Resort: http://www.makenaresortmaui.com/ .  Lois Greenwood, wouldn’t an authentic tea ceremony be a wonderful addition for the guests at The Makena Resort?  The ZAFU tea culture majors could also teach VITEC classes to the residents of Maui http://www.ocet.org/.   Since Maui has a large Asian population, many residents are likely to be interested in learning about their culture. Japanese visitors may be  curious about how the Chinese tea presentation differs from their own.  Others are likely just to be interested.  A beginning with a focus on Chinese tea culture could also lead to calligraphy and other Chinese arts.  The Maui Arts and Culture Center could showcase  the tea culture performances <http://www.mauiarts.org/>.

Tea ceremony practitioners and audience

Transition of Chinese students to top U.S. universities:  Many Chinese students want to study abroad.  One question Barry and I get here in China is, “What is the most famous university in the U.S.?”  For the Chinese, going to a prestigious school is extremely important.  Before we try to answer a student, we want to know what he or she will be studying since the quality of programs vary within each school and we consider their English fluency.  Some of the Chinese students have what we see as an unrealistic view of their their own capabilities.  In general, although they do have discipline, and they do know how to work hard,  U.S. universities, especially the top ones, are very competitive.  A student must be excellent to survive. According to a 2005 report issued by The Education Trust,  approximately 35 percent of students who enter US colleges will drop out during the first year — and those are often native English  speakers. ( http://www.brighthub.com/education/college/articles/82378.aspx#ixzz1RDLlKMV3  A

The Chinese students going to the University of Indiana, for instance, will pay about $30,000 just for tuition.  Add books, food, and housing costs, that fee rises to $43,351.  They also  need the airfare to get to the school.  <http://admit.indiana.edu/cost/international/index.shtml>  However, the average annual salary of urban employees in China’s non-private sector rose to 37,147 yuan (or about $5,600)  in 2010 according to a May 5, 2011 People’s Daily report.

Because her spoken English was very limited, we struggled to understand one student who told us money  for school was not an issue  for her family.  Her parents,  however, may disagree when she likely flunks out of her first year when she is competing with native English speakers.   So Barry and I see a real need to have transition programs for many of the Chinese students.  Just as U.S. students often start at community colleges for their core courses and then transfer to universities to complete BA or graduate studies, many Chinese students, we think could (and should) do the same.  At UHMC, we have the excellent Maui Language Institute <http://www.mauilanguageinstitute.com/index.php> for those students who do not yet qualify for U.S.  universities.  For those who do, they may be wise to start at a school such as UHMC <http://maui.hawaii.edu/> to acclimate to   a US school, one with small classes and with experienced teachers instead of the huge freshman classes  of major universities, ones often taught by T.A.s.  Once the students have built their skills and gained transferable credits, they can move on to top universities that specialize in their fields of study–and they are likely to do very well.  ZAFU and UHMC could set up transition programs for Chinese students wanting to do well in American universities.

Our schools could trade medical knowledge and expertise.  In the U.S., there is a growing recognition and interest in Oriental medicine.  A friend on Oahu has just enrolled in a four-year program there to become a doctor of Oriental medicine.  Perhaps our UHMC could make good use of the training ZAFU  graduates receive to promote special semester or summer Oriental medicine classes on Maui.  In exchange, our UHMC Dental Hygenist program faculty and students could  send representatives here to ZAFU.  There is a huge opportunity to share what we know in the U.S. about dental hygiene.   Our UHMC Dental Program leaders, Joyce Yamada and Rosie Vierra could offer  their knowledge and expertise to develop a program at ZAFU.  See our UHMC  site <http://maui.hawaii.edu/?s=dental>.   ZAFU could offer a dental hygienist program here that could be a model for China.  The possibilities are vast.

Of course, an obvious connection is teacher and  student exchanges.   Right now, ZAFU is actively recruiting faculty  who speak Mandarin and English to teach in almost all programs at this  campus in China.  If you or someone you know was born in China but emigrated to another country, ZAFU wants their skills at this university.  Those interested should contact Mr. Bao Haiyong (Bob) <bhy811218@126.com>.

As for the ZAFU Foreign Languages Department, it often searches for qualified native English speakers.  UHMC could be an excellent source.   Besides our regular tenured faculty, UHMC has a pool of very well-educated and experienced instructors.    Lecturers in the UHMC English Department, for instance,  have at least a Masters Degree, are professional, and have experience teaching on the college level.  Most love teaching; they would be very capable in teaching  English classes here at ZAFU; for themselves, they  would gain valuable new classroom and Chinese cultural experience. Barry and I have had an incredible year here and  recommend the experience.  Those interested can apply to Ms. Vickie Ge, ZAFU Administrator & Coordinator of Foreign Teachers/Experts at her e-mail address–<Vickiedangdang@gmail.com>.

We hope to expand and grow in connections between our two schools.  We look forward to bright futures for our students and our communities.  Our ideas can make that happen.

One of the joys of being in another country is trying unfamiliar dishes. Here Cathy, sitting between Liping and Dean Kathy, is eating duck tongue for the first time.

On the morning our UHMC group headed into Hangzhou and then back to Shanghai, we got to meet the ZAFU official,  Dean Yu, who with our UHMC Liping and Vice-Chancellor Suzette started the sister school relationship  between our two institutions  several years.  Liping kept referring to him as Dean Fish Head,  which I though was  rather surprising (and a bit rude) especially since Liping is always very professional.  But no, Liping uses “Fish Head” as  an affectionate title.  “Yu” means fish in Mandarin,  and as dean, he is the head of his department, thus “Fish head.”

Dean Yu, "Fish Head," and Liping -- two who started our ZAFU and UHMC relationship

May our relationships continue to grow and our ideas flourish.

Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

5 responses to “Opportunities for Zhejiang Province, China and Maui County, Hawaii”

  1. Luca says :

    I enjoy looking through a post that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  2. Callum says :

    Fantaastic post hosever , I was wanting too know if you ould
    write a litte moe on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Callum: Thank you for reading this post and commenting. Because I taught at Zhejiang Agricultural and Forestry University for the 2010-2011 school year, I don’t have the current information about the school. However, I’ve written many posts about my time at ZAFU. Have you read, for instance, ? Also there are other posts about the more recent times I’ve gone back to China to teach in Shanghai and to travel a bit in China. What information are you particularly wanting to know? Maybe I can help. Let me know. Aloha, Renee

  3. Malissa says :

    What’s up, of course this article is really pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.


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