Min Liu, the Coordinator and Instructor of the Confucius Institute at Northern State University, has been in Aberdeen and working at Northern State University since August of 2015 when the Confucius Institute was first implemented on campus. The Confucius Institute is an apolitical and non-profit organization established to promote Chinese culture and language around the word. Liu is from Jinan, Sandong Province, in east China. She earned her undergraduate degree at Liaocheng Normal University, and she obtained her masters at Shandong University, majoring in English Linguistics. Due to her master’s degree in English, she became interested in teaching Chinese to college students in the United States. Liu was not very familiar with American culture upon first arriving on American soil. Therefore, her first year at NSU was difficult in many aspects of her life, including teaching new classes, adapting to a different school climate, handling discipline, and overcoming the barrier of language in staff communications. Additionally, language problems made her everyday life and daily tasks a bit difficult. Liu is thrilled with the enthusiasm of her students about learning the Chinese language, and she has had many unforgettable experiences during her time teaching Chinese language and culture courses at Northern State University. For instance, last semester, her students made her a birthday cake and sang to her. However, she had forgotten about her own birthday.
Liu and the Confucius Institute host a number of events throughout the academic year to promote Chinese culture, such as Chinese cooking, Chinese New Year, and a dragon dance performance. This year, the Confucius Institute travelled with NSU honor students to Joy Ranch for a weekend of Chinese language and culture. Over the course of the weekend, Liu and other faculty taught the students some basic Chinese phrases, how to make traditional Chinese dumplings, the proper techniques of calligraphy, and even facilitated a discussion about current events and issues regarding China and the world. The weekend was a great way to further promote Chinese culture as well as to promote an exciting and unique opportunity available to NSU students over summer break — a study abroad program in China. Liu is very excited about teaching a summer class at University of Jinan. It is a five-week study abroad program in China, and NSU students can take six transferable credits while there. In addition, to courses, students will attend a number of programs during their stay that will allow them to further experience Chinese culture. It is hoped that this summer program will foster deeper relationships between Northern State University and the University of Jinan. Liu hopes that many students may go to China and experience the real China by themselves or with a group of fellow students. Liu dreams that there will be more mutual understanding between the United States and the peoples of China, and she also desires that more Americans learn Chinese.