By XIN ZHAO
Editor: TIFFANY MERRITT
On September 23rd, UPP students joined the East Asian Autumn Festival which is a celebration hosted by UNCG campus every year. Autumn Festival is called “Zhong Qiu Jie” in Chinese. The festival is held on 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding the late September to early October of the Gregorian calendar with a full moon at night. Chinese usually spend the whole night with all their family members to celebrate this holiday. UNCG hosts this event and to let the students who are far away from their country experience their hometown’s festival and have the feeling of being at home. UNCG did a great job of broadcasting the event to increase attendance. Besides China, Vietnam also has a holiday similar to the Autumn Festival. In addition, students from other International organizations representing Korean and Japanese culture also came out to showcase Asian culture.
This year we decided to have our students teach Chinese paper cutting and show traditional Chinese costumes. Our students were teaching all the students from other countries how to cut paper. There were about 24 students who volunteer during this event. Our Chinese students thought it would be hard to teach American students Chinese paper cutting before they came to this event. However, our students did an amazing job to teach Americans how to do Chinese paper cutting and showing them Chinese costumes. One American student said, “The Chinese paper cutting is so pretty and the New Mind students did so well to teach us by hand to make this Chinese paper cutting art.” American participants really enjoyed the activity and talking with students about Chinese culture. This experience was good for New Mind students as well. Many New Mind students do not feel confident in their English abilities when they come to America and it leads to hesitation in creating friendships with Americans. However, this kind of activity creates a comfortable environment for students to practice their English while also sharing their culture. Doing a hands-on activity helps to break the ice in communication and creates a good interaction between the New Mind students and the American participants. New Mind students reported that they really enjoyed this kind of activity to share Chinese culture with Americans. In addition, the parents of New Mind students were very pleased to see their children respecting and recognizing the importance of cultural preservation.
Everyone who came to this event was very happy and satisfied. Our students felt at home from this event and American students learned a lot about our culture from this event.