North Central College now offers a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language, adding to the College’s foreign language undergraduate major programs. The College has offered a minor in Chinese since 2006 and expanded the program to a major beginning in 2012.
“We’ve developed the program in response to a national trend in Chinese language education and North Central has become a leader in what it offers,” says Jinai Sun, visiting assistant professor of Chinese, who oversees the program. “Recognition of the importance of China and Asia spawned a growing demand on the part of students on North Central’s campus.”
At least one term spent studying abroad at the prestigious Peking University in a western suburb of Beijing is required of all Chinese majors. In fall 2012, 13 students are spending a term at the university.
“This gives students opportunities for internships in China and prepares them for careers in international relations, international business, translation and interpreting skills and teaching,” Sun says.
North Central’s Chinese major includes new courses, including Topics in Chinese Culture and Society, Exploring China Through Film, Exploring Chinese Through Popular Culture, Communication and Composition and Chinese for Professional Settings.
The College also provides opportunities for further cultural education through student organizations such as International Club, Asian Student Konnection and Chinese Corner, which meets weekly and embarks on field trips to places such as Chinatown in Chicago.
The Chinese program at North Central has been active in cultural events programming in the community. This past spring, the program hosted a screening of “Mulberry Child,” a film about a family’s trauma and eventual triumph over Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China with the filmmaker and her daughter present to answer questions. The College’s Chinese program also partnered with Naperville’s Xilin Asian Community Center to offer a series of summer teaching workshops for area Chinese instructors.
Over the years, the College has established other academic programs with an Asian focus such as a major in East Asian studies with concentrations in China or Japan.