Random Assortment of Links

Useful resources for learning about contemporary China:

 English language Sinica Podcast

James Fallows - not always China-related, but always interesting

What's going on in Beijing:

TimeOut Beijing

The Beijinger

China Daily's Beijing Weekend 

Beijing Weather - Weather Underground


Useful language learning tools

Chinesepod podcast - free beginners' podcasts

Popup Chinese podcast - another very good podcast series

Hacking Chinese - interesting ideas on learning Chinese efficiently

Skritter character-learning tool for iPad/iPhone - really fun app

Sinosplice - John Pasden's site on many interesting aspects of China and the Chinese language



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Innovation Center

I'm finishing up a quick trip to Beijing. I had a chance to visit their Innovation Center, which is just off campus across Xinjiekouwai. It seems to be doing some interesting education-related things, along with the stereotype things like the slide in entry way. They had a real life car with a driving simulator - not quite as fancy as the one we visited at Ford in Dearborn a few years ago, but it seemed pretty realistic when I drove it.

BNU is training quite a few master's students in UI/UX areas - it's certainly an interesting application of Psychology.


Our first wedding

This year marked the first wedding during our China trips. Han Zhang, who first participated as an undergraduate at Beijing Normal and has been a key part of many of our trips as UM doctoral student, married his long-time girlfriend, Lizheng Ma, who is a teacher in Beijing and a student of second language learning. The wedding took place at Xinjiang Dasha in Beijing, and featured an interesting mix of Western (including Disney) elements and traditional Han and Uighur Chinese elements. Kai and Kevin were called on to give speeches, one in Chinese and one in English. Kevin ended his with a Chinese wish that should be part of all weddings:

白头偕老,百年好合, which is something like - stay together until your hair is white, and live in harmony for 100 years.




This year was ... different

This year for the first time we didn't get enough students registered for the GCC course at UM. Instead, we brought a small group of faculty and graduate students. The faculty were Kai Cortina, Priti Shah, and Kevin Miller. The graduate students were Channing Mathews, Han Zhang, and Xin Sun. Priti and Channing were coing to China for the first time.

We taught a course at Beijing Normal University focused on research methods and issues in cross-cultural research, and we (mostly Kai) taught a course in Xi'an at Shaanxi Normal University. It was a very interesting and productive visit. It's always interesting for me to see how other people teach, and I think we made good progress in finding ways to extend the connections between UM and these sister universities in China.

I'm hoping that in the future we can find ways to get more faculty and grad students involved, while also resuming the undergraduate trips here. I think that having experience here at a young age can be particularly formative for both undergraduate and graduate students, and, although I hate the word, I do believe that there is synergy in having multiple such activities going on at the same time.

Here's a picture of Kevin, Priti, Kai, and Channing at the Summer Palace (click on thumbnail for full size image)


Research Proposals

One new thing we did this year was to ask teams of UM and BNU students to work together and prepare research proposals. They presented them last night and they were quite impressive. I'm posting pictures that show each group's topic and group members. The lighting conditions weren't great, but you can get a sense of the topics and see our participants.


The Great Wall!

Today we woke up bright and early, packed our bags with snacks, and headed to the Great Wall! We had an awesome time exploring and enjoying the stunning views.

Kim and Xin near the end of our journey.

Kevin and Vanessa representing the School of Education.