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Global Exchange Newsletter
October - Dectember 2008

Welcome to our Global Exchange Newsletter 2008 Oct. -Dec. edition.

In This Edition:
- Beijing in Autumn
- Cultural Lesson: Chinese Calligraphy lessons
-

Interviews with students
with Manuel Cota San Andrea from Spain
with Ms. Lina Nyman from from Sweden
with Ms. Le Phuong Nga from Vietnam

- Get to know Global Exchange: Teacher Interview:  Lili Su C Catharine

Beijing in Autumn

Autumn is a great time to live in Beijing. The weather is usually mild and the trees lining our streets, parks, and monuments all start to change color into beautiful reds and yellows. On a clear day, nothing beats putting on a jacket and going for a walk or hike somewhere around the city. Many people enjoy the hour and a half hike through "Fragrant Hill", a mountain park with forests and stone pathways dating back to the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Tired climbers who reach the summit can use the convenient chairlift for an easy 6min ride back to the entrance.

Other students enjoyed a trip to The Summer Palace (yi he yuan, or Gardens of Nurtured Harmony), conveniently located very close to our center and dorms. After a quick cab ride, they enjoyed a walk along the lake and watched the sunset. This World Heritage Site includes old palace architecture, sprawling gardens and ornate pathways. It's often a pleasant surprise for visitors expecting to find an urban environment when they arrive in Beijing. Although it is a major draw for tourists, locals often come here on clear days to relax and fly kites.  


Cultural Lesson: Chinese Calligraphy lessons

Our center offers Chinese calligraphy lessons as a part of our Chinese courses. This gives our students a chance to not only improve their writing skills, but also to experience an important aspect of Chinese culture. Calligraphy is a traditional Chinese art form dating back thousands of years, spreading its influence to neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea. In essence, it is a means to bring one's thoughts and feelings to life with a series of elegant brush strokes and provides the foundation for the modern Chinese language.  

Students began the lesson with a general overview of ancient practices, learning how ancient Chinese scholars made their ink and used special methods of writing with a brush and paper. The instructor continued with background stories about public figures who's individual calligraphy could often be sold for high prices.

Our students got the chance to write a few Chinese characters by themselves in second part of class.  Afterwards, students spent the second part of class writing Chinese characters themselves, later saying they found the process fun and rewarding.


The lesson ended with students happily writing a classic Chinese phrase  "hao3 hao3 xue3 xi2, tian1 tian1 xiang4 shang4",  or "study hard and make progress everyday"


Interviews with students

Name: Manuel Cota San Andrea:
Nationality: Spain
Work Experiences: worked a fly attendant on Spanish Airline.  Worked also in many hotels in Spain and in China.

What is your background?

Worked for 3 years as a baker in Spain and one in London . Then moved back to Spain where I started working as Steward for Spanish biggest airline. I been flying international haul for 9 years. In the mean time I graduated from Alcala University in Hospitality. In 2004 started studding Chinese on my own. On May 2005 was confident enough to take 3 week program in Global Exchange Center in China. It was good and my interest for the country and language increased. Taking advantage of my employment as a cabin attendant (cheap tickets), I took frequent Global Exchange Center programs (all together 7 times 3 weeks each). Finally, in 2007 I decided to take an 'extended period of absence' (extensible up to 5 years) from Iberia and moved to China to take a Chinese Business internship with Global Exchange Center. After two months in Beijing (some more lessons), I worked in a hotel in Shenzhen that is associated with Global Exchange center for 4 months. Then looked for a job in Beijing . After a month and lots of interviews, I got current job (already 5 months) in the new five stars hotel Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel as F&B Departmental Trainer. 



What brought you to China , and how long have you been here?

Over all, I am interested in hospitality business. China is shortly to become top receiving and emitting tourism country. Just during pre-Olympic period 8 new 5 starts hotels where open in Beijing . Olympics in 2008, in 2010 Shanghai World's venue (Expo), ... where to see hospitality moving better than here...
So far, my time spent in China is  just 1 year and 4 months, but I still plan to stay for at least 4 years or whatever is needed to go back to Spain and be able to be a good host for Chinese tourists.

What programs you have taken with Global Exchange Center?
First time took group lessons, 6 to 8 hours a day. The rest of times (6 times) I always went for private 2 to 4 lessons a day. Finally, I took a 6 month internship (2 months of lessons, 4 months of internship work). Now I still take some private lesson when time allows... and lots of study.

Is there anything special you could say about Global Exchange?
Flexible, efficient and friendly

When are you happiest in China ?
Working with my ge1 menr (buddy)



Name:  Ms. Lina Nyman
Country from: Sweden
Citizenship: Swedish
Profession: Design & Development Manager of Atlas Copco Zhangjiakou Construction & Mining Equipment Ltd.
Time in Chinese program: 
First, 2 weeks in April 2008, then came in second time in August 2008.  After that, Lina has been taking weekend courses.

 



 

Tell us briefly what you are doing in China?
I came to China to work for an international company with a factory
 based outside Beijing. Even though it is an international company we have
 only Chinese employees, so to learn Chinese was important for me. Right now I
work as manager for a R&D team and I spend some of my Saturdays taking
private lessons in Chinese.

Did your time in Chinese program in Beijing help you reach your professional and personal goals?
First I spent 2 weeks at Global Exchange Center in summer 2008 and got a good base for my Chinese. My goal to quickly improve my Chinese from zero to basic speaking was reached and  I left the school very satisfied. I also enjoyed my time there together with the wonderful teachers and classmates so except from reaching my professional goals I also got to know Beijing as city, got friends I still have contact with and also had lots of fun.

I enjoyed studying Chinese so much that 3 months later I went back
 another 2 weeks. After every course I have taken my Chinese level increases in
 big steps and that inspires me to both continue studying and use Chinese
 in daily life.

Is there a particular experience you can tell us about that was personally important to you?
The school is not only there for you as a language teacher, you can relax when going to Beijing and Global Exchange Center. If I experience any problems even outside their responsibilities, I know now that I am not alone. During my visit I had some problems with my legal papers since I actually was here working and not studying. I never asked for help and support, but just as the staff in the center heard about my issues, they actively asked me if I needed some help and also didnt take no for an answer. Thanks to them everything worked out very well, but more importantly I realized the importance of having a partner proactively supporting you when coming to a new country.

Do you have a special hobby or passion?
No that would be my work and studying Chinese.... I have no good answer to this one.



Name: Ms. Le Phuong Nga
Educational Background: Accounting
Nationality: Vietnam
Languages Spoken: Vietnamese, English, Chinese
Hobbies: music, art, photography, geography, astronomy.
Time in Chinese program: 8 weeks in Nov. to Dec. 2008


Tell us a little about your background and what you did before coming to China?
I was born in Hanoi , the capital of Vietnam. I went to New Zealand for high school and Australia for university.
 
What are main reasons for you to decide to come to Beijing to take Chinese course?
I want to have a well knowledge about Chinese culture and language. Now a day, mandarin is the language spoken by one third of the world and I want to be one of those people.


Do you have a special hobby or passion? Tell us a few memorable experiences in Beijing?  How do you compare life in Beijing to your home country?
I like discover new things. It's also the reason why I choose to come to Beijing by myself. In here, I found many interesting things which cannot be found in anywhere else such as people, restaurants, shops, transport and weather. All are great.
   
Could you give us some comments and feedback of your home staying in Beijing?
How this help you understand Chinese people and cultures?
Living in a host family is really happy for me. My host family members are very kind and nice. Speaking to them every day, my speaking and listening skills got a huge improvement after just 2-3 weeks. I think this is the best choice for my Beijing trip.  


Get to know Global Exchange
Teacher Interview:  Lili Su C Catharine


* Tell us a little about your background?

I am a graduate of the Beijing Inst of Technology, and have been teaching Chinese in Global Exchange for about 3 years.


*

Why do you like to teach foreigners Chinese?  What you have enjoyed most  in your teaching?  What was the most difficult part of it?

I enjoy learning more about foreign cultures and practicing my English.

My favorite part of teaching is making many foreign friends who have learned a lot from me. I feel very proud.

I think the most difficult part is pronunciation and the characters, but I think with practice and talking with Chinese people, the language gets easier and easier.


*

Do you feel that Chinese is a difficult language to teach?

Interesting things are not always easy to do, but if you are really interested then you will get it. I always try to find better ways to help students learn Chinese, for example playing games to remember words and telling stories to help them remember characters.


* What is your hobby or passion?

I like to sing, read books, and study languages. I think that with language you can learn a lot of about a country's culture and what people are thinking, so I am mainly interested in learning languages.

 

 


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