Chinese characters have moved all the way from the Eastern Hemisphere to the heartland region of America.
Starting this fall semester, Students at Missouri Western will be able to dive into the new language for three credits if they so choose. If they are able to pass the course, then they can take the advanced courses just like the other foreign languages.
“The idea is for it to be the same sequent as the other languages,” Foreign Language Coordinator and French Professor Susan Hennessy said. “In the spring semester they will be able to take the next class.”
The new class will be sponsored by the Fullbright Grant. This grant helps colleges and professors help establish programs and pay for them so a college can have the opportunity to adopt a new language to teach.
“The goal is to help schools establish programs,” Hennessy said. “They will cover all the cost.”
Hennessy also said students have been asking for this language for a few years, and with more Chinese students arriving on campus, the school decided to go ahead with the plans.
This class will be available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. until 1:50 p.m. as well as 2 p.m. until 2:50 p.m. The new language will also be available from 6 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. on Monday and Thursday.
Students have been worrying why they can only take one class of language when a student needs at least six credits of foreign language for some majors, but Hennessy said that there will definitely be more courses. She said it didn’t make much sense to add the advanced classes when no students could sign up for it right now.
Junior Aaron Smullin said while there is no guarantee he is going to take the class, he thinks it is a great idea for the new language to be on campus and that he is interested in learning Chinese.
“I never personally had the opportunity to take Chinese,” Smullin said. “It will be something different.
Smullin, a Public Relations major, said he didn’t plan on taking much of the course however. He knows it will be difficult as does Hennessy, who stressed that students have to take this course seriously and try hard because the level of difficulty is far more than the other languages offered at Western.
Also offered in this course will be the study of the culture, foods and the way of life in China and surrounding areas. Anybody interested in taking the course will be able to understand the characters and put them to use in variety of sentences.
Many schools in the midwest are starting to teach Chinese, with Kansas University even offering a major in the language. The culture is rising and now Western will be able to learn more about it.
“First and foremost it is a language course,” Hennessy said.
Perhaps after that, students will likely have a better understanding of the life in China, and that is something Western is really excited about.