In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wisconsin Public Radio hosts tours, class conversations and special program opportunities to assist UWL international students in their understanding of U.S. media, community issues, and the English language.
Since 2009, WPR's La Crosse News Bureau has collaborated on a project to produce a series of commentaries by international students who offer stories about their homes, their culture and perspectives on living abroad.
UWL's international students come from unique backgrounds and have their own stories to tell. They like to share their thoughts on important holidays and customs, and critical essays on such issues as the dangers of spending too much time in front of your computer, eating fast-food, or using nuclear power.
UWL English as a Second Language instructor Carrie Melin works with her students to write these essays; they are subsequently recorded at the WLSU studios on the UWL campus. WPR producer Steve Roisum records and prepares these essays for our online archives.
Many of the students speak with rich accents, distinct to their varied backgrounds. If you wish to read along with the commentaries, the scripts are provided below. To hear the commentaries, click on each student's name:
PLEASE NOTE: These audio files require RealPlayer media player. You can download the latest version of RealPlayer here.
From Fall 2012:
Hello Wisconsin Public Radio listeners. My name is Abdulaziz Almazrou and I am a student at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse from Saudi Arabia. I am an undergraduate student studying Marketing. My speech will be about something in Islam and it is Zakat.
To people who don't know what Islam is, Islam is a religion that has the second most followers in the world after Christianity. Islam has five pillars which the followers must practice and Zakat is one of them. It is the Islamic tax of 2.5% of an adult's wealth. This tax is different than the tax here in the U.S. because:
* The government can't enforce you to pay the zakat unless you have a big company.
* Also if the people need that money for other things, they are not expected to pay the Zakat.
Generally it goes to poor and needy people. Zakat is just on wealthy people and poor people don't have to do it. According to British Columbia University in Canada, wealthy people will feel happier if they give money to poor people rather than if they keep it all for themselves. The same is true all over the world. To give an easy example of zakat, if you have $100 and you don't use it for one year, you should take 2.5% which is $2.50 and give it to any poor person that you would like. In the end, the point of Zakat in Islam is to reduce the gap between wealthy and poor people, and this, of course, will reduce it. Thank you all for listening and I hope that I gave you some new information about my religion.
Hello students and Wisconsin Public Radio listeners, my name is Amara Baldivieso and I'm from Bolivia. I study here, at UW-La Crosse, and this has been an amazing experience so far. Today I want to tell you a little about colleges in my country and the difference between American culture and mine.
First you must know where Bolivia is, it is in South America, and no, it is not like Mexico. In my country we have around 50 universities, which is not even close to the number of universities you have here in Wisconsin. Also, we don't have big campuses or dorms; probably the biggest campus is smaller than UW-La Crosse's campus. As a cultural matter of fact many of the students live with their parents even after finishing college. We don't have the custom to get a job while we study, not even during college. So, as you can see, not only Bolivia, but the Latin American culture tends to be very dependent until a certain age.
Going back to my topic, it is important to say that students go to the college that best fits them, so the one that is in their city and, sometimes, the one that gives them a scholarship. It is rare to see a student move to another city, unless he or she has relatives that can support him or her because there are no dorms. If there is no one to support a student they must find an apartment. Furthermore, it is hard for a student to go out of the country, unless he or she has a lot of money or attended a really good school that follows an international schooling system; that percentage of students that go out of the country is very low, though.
Economically colleges don't have big budgets, unless they are private, which in that case are way more expensive but not even as much as UWL (which is not considered an expensive college in the US). Coming here for me is a once-in-a-life time opportunity because of all the things I already mentioned. The way of teaching and the whole system in colleges in Bolivia is still several steps behind the US due to the fact that we are not an economically strong nation.
That concludes my topic, so thank you all for listening and I hope you have a great day!
Our class has many different cultures and traditions in it. Some of us here eat pork, and some don't. Some drink alcohol and some don't. Some of us know how to eat with chopsticks and some of us don't. I know I don't know how to use chopsticks. We all come from different countries and each country has its own culture and traditions. My name is Mojtaba Aldubaisi and today I am going to talk to you about how we treat our guests in Saudi Arabia.
When I go out with my friends and I want to invite them over, I do not tell them "come to MY house". I tell them come to OUR house since most of us still live with our parents so out of respect to them, we use plural words. When a guest comes by, he or she has to take off his or her shoes before fully entering the house. It is important because we don't want to disrespect the family by making the house dirty.
Depending on where you go, when a guest comes over to your place, some of us choose to all sit on the ground while others choose to sit on chairs. If there are more people than chairs, then the guest should be the one sitting on the chairs unless there are elder people in the house as well. Then the elder people should take the seat first. After everyone takes their seat, the host will go and prepare tea and some food for the guest. You do not want the guest to leave the house thirsty or hungry.
In conclusion, every culture is different and I really like this part of my culture. Many internationals who come to the Middle East tell us that they really enjoyed our hospitality. By giving the guest all the attention, you can be sure that he or she will not leave the house unsatisfied.
Hello, my name is Sanghyun Lee. Mostly, whenever I introduce myself to American students, they often ask me ?Are you from North Korea?' But I am actually from South Korea. Because of the nuclear weapon, North Korea is well known in the United States as one of the biggest enemies or terrorists.
North Korea and South Korea are the only divided country in the world. Since the Korean War in 1950~1953, North and South Korea are in a state of armistice. There is no wonder that both are always ready to fire their guns again. The dictator of North Korea is always trying to find a chance to take South Korea. On the other hand, South Korea defends against them. Unfortunately, many families were forced to split and they are still willing to see their family over the DMZ, which is the Demilitarized Zone. However, even though both countries allow reunions for separated families, it is still really hard to get this chance. For the last 60 years, North Korea has been under communism and a dictatorial government. The economy was failed and it caused a severe famine in the country. So many people died of famine. In addition, a number of North Koreans suffer from the violence of a dictatorship, and some of them often tried to escape from North Korea to South Korea.
In order to deal with these problems, North Korea often threatens the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons to get their monetary support. North Korea, by itself, is the most hostile country; however, people in North Korea are some of the poorest people in the world who don't have any freedom. So, this is why you cannot find any North Koreans in the United States.
Hello, my name is Wenjun Zhao and I am from Gui Zhou in southwest China. My province is a special place because it is a mountainous area and there are 49 different minority groups living there. Today, I want to introduce one of the largest minority groups which is the Miao. Miao in English is Hmong. We can see different cultures and traditions in my province because of all the different minority groups.
Now, I'd like to share some interesting points about Hmong people Hmong people have a long history. Five thousand years ago we can see ancient records about Hmong people. Chinese use a lot of words created by Hmong people. Hmong people are proficient in herbs and are good at using the herbal and natural medicine to cure illnesses to save the patients. Many Hmong people believe in animism which means they worship nature. Hmong people host more than 120 festivals every year. Each Hmong group has a different style of clothing. Hmong food is very famous in my hometown. There is a saying in my province that if you don't eat sour food, you cannot walk well.
So, in conclusion, I believe you can find many interesting cultures and traditions in Gui Zhou province. Maybe if you visit, you will be unwilling to leave
Hello. My name is Yuki Yamamoto. I'm from Kobe, Japan. Today, I would like to talk about the coming-of-age ceremony in Japan. The coming-of-age ceremony is an event to celebrate when people become an adult, and it takes place every year in January in each city in Japan. Every year the people who turn 20 years old go to the ceremony. It is not required to go, but most of them attend the event to celebrate their adulthood.
In the ceremony, the mayor will give a speech. In the speech, the mayor congratulates the new adults and asks them to be responsible, mature, and respectful. Performances are another part of the ceremony. For instance, there was a dance performed by cheerleaders at my ceremony.
During the event, it is common to meet with people you know from before such as old friends and teachers. And there is a special clothes for the celebration. For the celebration, girls wear a traditional Japanese clothes called, "Kimono," and they start to choose the Kimono a year before the ceremony, and they try to choose bright colors such as blue, red, and pink to make them prettier and signify their youth.
Most of the boys wear suits, but some boys wear traditional Japanese clothes called, "Hakama." The Hakama is usually made by black or dark colored fabric.
The coming-of age ceremony is one of the important events in our culture, so I thought it was a great idea to introduce one of the biggest traditional Japanese ceremonies to you.
From Spring 2012:
Hello! My name is Abdulaziz. I'm from Riyadh the capital city of Saudi Arabia. I have been studying at UW-L
for two years. Today I would like to share with you an interesting topic. My topic is about King Faisal
Faisal was born in Riyadh, in 1906. he was the only son of his mother, and the third son
of his father. From childhood, Faisal absorbed qualities of leadership from his father. His father taught
him about the politics and the art of dealing successfully with people. His father, King Abdulaziz,
recognized Faisal's unique abilities and gave him opportunities to play a significant role in public
affairs at an early age. He became a king in 1964. He conceived that all Saudi princes had to school
inside the country, rather than sending them abroad. He was a sensitive, intelligent man, and he spent
his time thinking of Palestine. He would really like this country to be safe and an independent country.
If not, "I don't deserve to be alive" Faisal said. In the end, a huge sadness covered all Saudis that Faisal
was assassinated in 1976. Although he died, people always try to achieve some of his dreams that
Faisal wanted to reach.
Hi, my name is Yuan Chao. I am a Chinese student attending in UW-La Crosse. I will talk about my hometown, LianYunGang. LianYunGang is located in the JiangSu province, which is in Northern China. I want to tell you something about HuaGuo Mountain as well as the East China Sea.
Have you heard of the four famous pieces of literature in China? One of them is named "Journey to The West" The main character of this story goes by the title of the Monkey King, because of the many monkeys living in HuaGuo Mountain. And his hometown, HuaGuo Mountain is the same place where I am from. There is also a famous waterfall which is named Water Curtain Cave in the mountain. Water Curtain Cave is hidden inside of the mountain, so it is very mysterious.
There are almost fifty thousand tourists every year who come the mountain. In addition, there is a beautiful, blue sea in LianYunGang. Many people swim in the sea every summer, we Chinese love to see the sunrise in front of the sea. What's more, we can get many kinds of food from the sea, because my hometown is a port city. If you have free time to travel to my hometown, I would like to show you around the mountain and the East China Sea. I love my hometown. Even though it is a small city, it is quiet beautiful. Thank you.
Van Anh Do
Hello everyone, I am Van Anh Do. I am from Vietnam. My major is Business Management. Today, I would like to tell you about Vietnamese markets that are very different from supermarkets in the U.S.A.
There are two kinds of markets in Vietnam: normal markets such as Ben Thanh market, Lon market, and Bac Ha market; and floating markets, located on the river in the South of Vietnam such as Cai Rang floating market, Cho Gao floating market, and Phong Dien floating market.
Most markets in Vietnam are trading centers and always include a variety of goods such as con-sumer goods, cakes and candies, clothing shops, and food like fresh fruit, vegetables, and all kinds of meat. People can find anything needed for their lives and for their families in markets. Especially, Bac Ha market is both a trading center and the place where couples, friends and relatives meet together on Sunday. Bac Ha market is unique because people sell horses, pigs, cows, chickens, ducks and dogs.
Visitors are always interested in the floating markets in Vietnam because they can participate in the life of the local people. Almost everything is for sale, like rice, fresh fruit, fish, handicrafts, and plants. It is a great opportunity to find some nice souvenirs.
I hope that Vietnam sounds like an attractive place for you to visit sometime. Thank you.
Hi, everyone. My name is Yufei Han. I'm from China. Today I'd like to share a few things about the differences between the High School in China and United States.
The high school in China is a lot more selective in choosing incoming students. Unlike high schools in United States, there's a require entrance exam you need to take during your last year in Middle school, which determines which high school you can get into. High schools only look at your test scores when considering admission, and good high schools require a high middle school test score. Similar to schools here, there are require classes such as Math, Literature, and English as foreign language requirement. But, then you need to choose additional studies from two categories: science and liberal studies, and when you choose one you need not to take classes from the other category. Science requirements include Chemistry, Physics and Biology, where liberal studies include: History, Geography, and Social Sciences.
I was surprise when I learn the school hours in the US. In China, most high school starts at 7am and goes till 7pm at night, which consist of 45 minute classes with 10 minute break in between and an hour lunch and dinner break. Some smaller city schools go even later; two or three hours pass 7pm, and with classes on the weekend. All of the studies before now is to prepare for the college entrance exam, which is standard through the country and is taken during the last year in high school. Most college only looks at the college entrance exam when considering admission. It's competitive among students to get into a good high school, and we also have longer school hours and more exams during the year, and all that is to prepare for one college entrance exam. High school in China truly is more stressful and competitive than US.
Hello everyone, my name is Linh and I am from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. I have been studying at UWL for 2 years, and it has been a long time enough for me to get many interesting experiences about this country.
The food in Lacrosse is very delicious and I really like pizza, potatoes, and chicken wings. However, in this town is hard for me to find a small street kiosk at night, with a hot bowl of noodle as in Hanoi. With that said, today I am going to introduce one of our cultural habits which are very common in my 1000-year-old city.
It is very easy to find a kiosk if you come to my hometown. Going along the streets, you will see many small food stores. They are open all day, but if you want to try the best foods, you should come about 9:00 p.m., and walk around the center of city. Why is 9:00 pm the best time? Because our city is a traveling city, so the service activities are mostly busy at night. Besides that, there are thousands of visitors that come to Hanoi annually. Actually, they are really interested in going to small alleys and finding some food to eat. My hometown is famous for food and drinks, such as Pho (our well-known noodle soup with chicken and beef flavors being the most common), Bun Cha, or meat roll and so on. Hence, especially foreign people really want to discover all kinds of great Vietnamese food.
Lastly, the food is very cheap, and if you are a person who extremely loves eating, it will not be very expensive during the night. With $50 dollars, you can try ten different types of dishes. When I am home, I usually go with my friends. We do not eat a lot, just a little at each store, because the other delicious places were waiting for us. For Hanoi people, it is a very interesting feeling if you sit with your friends, eat something and talk to each other. In the winter, you can be refreshed and stay warm when you eat a hot bowl of Bun Oc. I miss Hanoi a lot as I can recall these memories and the feelings I used to have when I enjoyed the delicious food.
Hanoi is always in my mind, and I am proud of my hometown. Street food is its cultural value, its symbol and its classic beauty. Of course, this summer, I will go back and enjoy the tasty street food. Hopefully, one day, you will come to Hanoi and I am willing to show you this fantastic culture.
I am Kris Le from Vietnam and I have been in La Crosse for half a year to pursue my bachelor degree in finance at UW-L. I am going to share with you some of my interesting experiences today.
I lived in Hanoi, Vietnam since I was born, during which I discovered one of the most interesting cultural habits of my city: crazy traffic. Hanoi is a rapidly developing city, and the population of it is increasing incredibly fast. Therefore, the demand of transportation is needed to be convenient, fast, and cheap.
It is impossible for 10 million people to drive cars in the streets for their varying purposes. As I said, Hanoi is a developing city, which means not all of the citizens can afford cars. So, many people choose to use a cheaper and smaller vehicle like a motorbike. Thus, so many motorbike riders are taking a part of the crazy traffic in Hanoi, and because of that, the riders do not follow the rules of transportation in the city. Since many people are on the road at the same time, police cannot check on them one by one, so running the traffic light is common. In addition, the sidewalks are not only for the walkers but for sharing with the riders.
One of the most negative things about it is the accidents. There are thousands of people taken to the hospital everyday due to the crazy traffic. It is an issue in the eyes of the government, but as a citizen who has spent 20 years living with the special culture, I am saying it's not so bad. It makes me feel good in a unique way of being a part of that society. If you visit, you just need to be a little bit careful and then you will be fine.
In conclusion, traffic is an aspect of Vietnamese culture. Everybody who leaves the country remembers how they have enjoyed the busy Vietnamese roads and I think you will too.
Hi my name is Carolina. I am from Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia and I want to share my perspective of food waste.
When you are about to put a doughnut in the trash a Colombian person would probably say, don't dump it we can eat it tomorrow or give it to the less fortunate, it is clean, and you have to think about all of those children with empty belly's .We all should reflect and be conscious of food waste. The people in the U.S seem to waste a lot of food. As the writer Peter Smith states "there are probably enough wasted food in the U.S and Europe to feed the world's hungry three times" but we still have people dying of hunger in developing countries. Little actions like serving ourselves the quantity of food we are going to eat could make a huge difference in our world. If you are a college student next time you go to Whitney Center you must think about what you should do to prevent food waste. Not only this, but also think of what we can do for those who don't have a guaranteed dinner every day. Colombian parents try to teach children how to preserve humanity and how little actions can make a huge difference. In conclusion, we are the buyers, so we are the ones who have control of the world food production. Every time we go to the supermarket, think if we are going to eat all of the food we buy or if it will be wasted.
Hi, my name is Xiaoqi Wu, and I'm from China. It's my second semester at UWL, and my major is Rhetoric and Writing. The first day when I arrived at Eagle Hall, I was quite surprised that I would live so near to the cemetery. Today, I am going to talk about how Chinese think of cemeteries differently than Americans.
In China, the cemeteries are always on the outskirts of the cities and few people choose to live near the cemeteries. When I told my mother that there was a cemetery a block away from my dorm, she was kind of worried and said never look at the cemetery at night. In Chinese culture, the location of cemeteries is very important. The best location is where there is a mountain at the back of the tomb, and a river is in front of the tomb. The Chinese believe that the descendants will benefit from the great location where the ancestors live.
In ancient China, the tombs were always like a semi-circle slope and they occupied a large area, especially for the rich people. But now, the tombs are smaller because the cemeteries are expensive. Chinese people don't like to select the cemeteries before they gone, because we think it is unlucky.
Every April 5th is the Tomb Sweeping Festival. People will go to the cemeteries to say hello to their ancestors. First, we clean the tomb, because grass may have grown on the tomb and it is the only time we clean the tomb all year. We not only bring flowers but also food to worship them.
Overall, Chinese people think highly of the cemeteries. If you are interested in this topic, you can search this kind of information on the internet. Thanks for listening.
Hello, everyone. My name is Haizhou Zhang and I am a Chinese student -at UW-La Crosse. I want to talk about Chinese liquor culture today.
Liquor is not only alcoholic, but it is also a kind of culture in China. Chinese liquor is the most common alcoholic beverage in our life. It is 40%-60% alcohol by volume and in China it is generally made of sorghum, wheat, barley and millet. The oldest liquor in China is rice wine and it was made more than three thousand years ago. The Chinese made it by fermentation. After two thousand years, the Chinese produced the liquor, which is the most popular alcoholic Chinese drink now, by distillation. So liquor has been a part of Chinese culture in the 5000 years of China's history.
In ancient China, people made a collection of games for drinking which were named "drinker's wager games." In these games, the ruler appointed people to use their knowledge to create poems. If someone could not create a poem, he would drink by himself, or if someone created a pretty good poem, they would drink with others. By the way, a lot of famous Chinese poems have been made after a poet was drinking. These games were very popular during the Tang dynasty, and it promoted the development of poetry culture.
Nowadays, people drink liquor for many occasions such as: business or special occasions like a businessman discussing with his clients; or a boy also has to drink liquor with his girlfriend's father when he visits her family; even children have to say a toast to their elders on festival days. In conclusion, Chinese people believe, "alcohol has a strong presence in Chinese culture."
Hello, my name is Ximing Yu and I'm a Chinese student studying at UW La Crosse. As we can see from television and the Internet, in recent years, an increasing number of school violence cases have happened in both China and America, so campus safety and security has become more and more important, especially in dormitories. So today, I want to tell you how dorms are kept safe in China.
From my experience in high school and college, there are dorm room examinations which occur in most colleges and high schools in China. During the examination, a dorm supervisor would check every room in the residence hall to see whether or not the students for each room came back in the evening. This procedure is done so that dorm supervisors could make sure that everyone in the residence hall is safe. This kind of examination happens every night in most Chinese colleges and high schools.
This protocol may be unbelievable to American students. When I talked with American friends, almost every one of them considers residence halls to be private spaces and therefore cannot be searched or patrolled. From an American point of view, it seems like Chinese students do not care about their own privacy. However, if we consider this to be a way to keep school security and personal privacy in balance, American students may have a better understanding of this examination.
(Ximing Yu's essay is not available in audio form.)
From Fall 2011:
Mai Ye Thao
My name is Mai Ye Thao. I'm a Hmong student at UWL. Today I am going to share with you, the difference between Hmong and American marriage. The reason I am going to talk about this topic is that it surprises me that most Americans don't know much about Hmong marriage customs.
American marriage and Hmong marriage are like Ying and Yang. They cannot blend into one another, but they share and live in a common world. The time that we are most exited throughout our life is when we get married. Don't you agree?
Hmong people get married at an early age and therefore Americans make a weird face when I tell them that Hmong girls get married at the age of 13 or 14. If we wait too long and we reach the age of 20 or 21, we are then considered too old. Well, in America it is quite different. If you get married at the age of 13, people will think you are too young to know what you are getting yourself into. Many Americans could not imagine themselves getting married at such an early age. When you are looking for your fated one the Hmong people have a saying "When you go look for a husband, open both of your eyes." That means that you should pick the right guy before you get married so you would not live with tears.
When you get married, on that day/time forward you are considered part of your husband's family and their blood line. Which leads me to the next step. When you get married, you should try to avoid moving back home with your parents. If you tried and somehow you got sent back to your parents for whatever reason, people are going to disrespect you, call you names, and talk behind your back. But, with Americans you could come and go as you like and your parents are going to support you.
In Hmong culture you, as the wife are forbidden to come into your parent's house after you have your baby. You would have to wait 1 month in order to come back into your parent's house. For those people who were sent back to their parents because their husband does not want them, they would have to stay at a hotel, a motel or with a Christen friend. So, now that you know the difference between Hmong and American marriage, I hope that you understand why we get married at a young age.
I am Dieu Phan from Vietnam and I have been Lacrosse for a year to pursue my MBA degree at UWL. I am about with to share you some of my interesting experiences today.
I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for 4 years, during which I discovered one of the most interesting cultural habits of the city: sidewalk cafes.
Ho Chi Minh City is thought of as being a rapidly developing city, and the people within it are thought to have fast-paced lifestyles. However, when travelling there, tourists are sure to be surprised with the style of enjoying coffee, even in the city center.
Even though people live a fast-paced life in Ho Chi Minh, they still take the time to enjoy a simple cup of coffee. They aren't in a traditional coffee shop, because there are no coffee shops. Instead of traditional coffee shops, there are sidewalk vendors selling coffee in the park, in front of a Church or University. All that coffee vendors have are just some small plastic chairs and tables on the sidewalks.
There are also no Wireless networks or waitresses as in normal high-class shops. However, people who come there are from different classes, such as: businessmen, students, taxi drivers, house wives, and even Government staff? we cannot identify which class they are from, because they are equal in these places. They pay the same price, about 50 cents for a cup of coffee. People do not care about how they are served or whether the service is better than in a high-class coffee shop or not. The thing they want is to feel relaxed and meet new friends, to tell jokes and listen to beautiful music from a street musician. The noise of traffic vehicles, and streams of people on the street also give coffee drinkers interesting impressions.
In conclusion, side walk coffee is the new, unique style of enjoying coffee in Ho Chi Minh City and one should not miss out on it when he or she travels to this city.
My name is Mingyue He, and I'm from China. After living in both China and the US I have seen a lot of differences between the two, so today I will talk about a few of them.
China has about 5000 years of history, but US just over 200 years old. This is one reason that the two countries have come to be such different places culturally. China has a brilliant, abundant and deep food culture. For example, American loves to eat meat, but Chinese people eat a lot of plant based products. China and US. have different educational cultures as well, and that kind of difference comes from our different modes of thinking and conducting philosophy. For example, Americans seem to be much more direct when trying to accomplish their goals. On the other hand, Chinese seem to explore many different options. Nowadays, China has opened the door and accepted the whole world, so we can see a lot cultural collisions, exchanges, and assimilation into a more globalized culture.
I have talked about some of the differences that I have noticed because of my interaction with US citizens.
My name is Jing Han, I'm from China. I'm a student at UWL. Today, I want to share about a traditional Chinese food?Peking Roast Duck.
Roast Duck is a famous dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China's national dishes. On July 22nd 2011, on the CNN list of 50 global food dishes, Peking Roast Duck is listed as number 5. In addition, "The Times, in Britain, published an article that said eating Peking Roast Duck can make the body healthier. One health benefit of Peking Roast duck is it is good for the heart. Some famous Americans like Peking Roast Duck such as the last President Bush and his father. If you want to eat a delicious dish, you should try Peking Roast Duck.
Tianhua Liu (Christy)
My name is Christy and I'm from Beijing china. I'm a student at UWL and today I'd like to share some information about one of my favorite places in Beijing, the Fragrant Hill.
The Fragrant Hill, Xiangshan is the most beautiful sight in Beijing in the fall. It is located in the west suburbs of Beijing. The park is beautiful in other seasons too. The park has a long history. In the park, there is a palace that was built for the king in the Jin dynasty, and was continued to be used by kings in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the 10th year of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, Jingyi Garden was built there. 1956 was the first time that the Garden was open to the public.
There are three different routes that are recommended to tourists who climb the hill for sightseeing. It takes most tourists who climb the hill 2 hours to reach the top. The Fragrant Hills' smoke-tree leaves? which are world famous, make the best souvenires for tourists. These leaves turn bright-red in late autumn. This is one of my favorite holiday destinations. It is a great place to visit with family and loved ones. I hope that one day; everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that this park has to offer.
Hello, my name is Minh and I am a Vietnamese student in University of Wisconsin Lacrosse. I am here today to give you some information on differences in non-verbal communication between Vietnamese and Americans
Communication among people plays a vital part in daily life and using the proper non-verbal cues will make the conversation more effective. However, non-verbal communication differs from country to country. Therefore, I am going to discuss some common non-verbal cues that may lead to the misunderstanding between Vietnamese and Americans.
In class, Vietnamese students often express their respect to teachers by sitting and listening quietly. They are also not encouraged to raise questions during the lecture. This behavior is often misinterpreted by the American teacher as not understanding the lesson. In addition, when Vietnamese people talk to someone who is of higher rank or different gender, looking into his or her eyes means disrespect. As a result, the respectful behavior is to avoid the eye contact with people who are not the same status or gender. In contrast, American people show they are listening carefully by staring directly into the speaker's eyes. They believe that the lack of eye contact while speaking signals something unreliable.
In conclusion, people from different cultural backgrounds are likely to interpret the message in different ways. Moreover, due to the trend of globalization, people from all over the world have many opportunities to communicate with each other. Therefore, you should find basic information about someone's culture to avoid the misinterpretation.
From Spring 2011:
April 25, in 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power number 4 power station began regular scheduled maintenance. However due to continuous operational errors, station no 4 reactor state is very unstable. April 26, 1986 the no 4 power station exploded. 3 days after the accident. So many people suffering from radioactive contamination and there are two people died. In 1992, there are more than 7 thousand people died during that time. This accident caused radioactive contamination throughout the former Soviet Union about 150 thousand square kilometers. In this accident, it will not be farming, grazing within 10 km. In 10 years are prohibited produce milk within 100 km. Nuclear production gave rise to the people's spiritual, psychological anxiety is difficult to count. Nuclear power gives people lots of convenience, but also gives people lots of disaster.
Alberto Daniel Garcia Vidal
The passion for soccer in Mexico you can see it everywhere. In the streets, with kids kicking a soccer ball with two sweaters as a goal box, with the people wearing their favorite team shirt. In the conversations, with hard discussions that sometimes they finish in fights. In the stadiums with the people singing songs for their teams. It is everywhere you go, and the maximum expression of this passion is the National Mexican team. The national team plays few times in a year. So when they play, the cities paralyze, the talks, the fights, the clothes, the news, the shows, everything is about the Mexican national team. All this passion is going to the Mexican National Team and now we have a new coach, all the pressure, all the sides are in him. There is a certain feeling when a new coach is assigned to our national team. This feeling is that everything will change, that we will see the national team we always dream. There is nothing wrong in feeling this, however this high expectations usually became in a disappoint later. And the critics come and the good become in bad. Because we never learned just to wait. There is a certain feeling always when a new coach is assigned to our national team. This feeing is that Sometime we are too emotional, sometimes we try to be to logical, but we start to be pessimistic. What is the correct attitude? Should we be excited to have a new coach? Of course! But we shouldn't put in him a pressure is unrealistic. We should put in him hope but also patience, just wait and wait, and give him the opportunity to show us what he can do, this is the correct way to support our team.
Taiwan, or the ROC-the Republic of China, is a country that has 23 million inhabitants, and is an island located in the Western Pacific Ocean in East Asia. Founded on January 1, 1911, the ROC governed mainland China until the Chinese Civil War in 1949, which the ROC was defeated by China, known as the PRC-the People's Republic of China. As a result, the people who supported the ROC moved to Taiwan, an island about 140 miles off the east coast of the mainland. Although Taiwan is a capitalistic society and China is a communist state, China maintains that the two nations are one ever since the Chinese Civil War. However, other countries in the world cannot have an alliance with both Taiwan and China. Also, since the rise of the ROC, Taiwan's seat at the United Nations has disappeared. Even though Taiwan has applied to regain representation, it has not accepted yet. Now, Taiwan has just 24 diplomatic allies. As China rises in power, Taiwan's identity is being lost, lost in the way that Taiwanese cannot see their future. Only the future we will tell.
Hi everyone, my name is Ting. I am a Chinese student. I come from a big family that has 6 children. I am the third child. Anyone who knows China must be curious about my family. You must want to ask is there the one child policy in China? How can your family have six children? That's exactly what I want to talk about today, the one child policy in China. Actually the one child policy doesn't mean each family only can have one child. Different provinces have different situations. The first one is in a big city like Beijing and Shanghi, each couple only can have one child. Except if you are an only child and marry an only child then you can have two children. The second one, in the country side, far away from big cities, each couple can have two children. The third one, In Tibet, there is no limit about how many children you can have. The fourth one, in other provinces, if you have a girl first, then you can have the second child. That's mainly because all Chinese prefer boys than girls. The last situation is some people they really want children so they just break the law. But they need to pay the fine for the extra children. However if you are a government employee and you break the law you will get fired. They are the five general situations about China's one child policy. I hope you learned more information about the policy in my country. Thanks.
Today I want to talk about the Chinese famous lake, and it is named West Lake in Hangzhou city in Zhejiang Province. This is a saying in China that goes, "Up above there is heaven; down below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou." West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned feature of Hangzhou. West Lake is very beautiful, it is just like a natural dream world. The water is really fresh and clear. You can see many kinds of fish in it, which makes it look very colorful and interesting. There are many huge trees and mountains around West Lake, especially in the evening. There is a lot of mirage up there. Everything looks very calm and peaceful. There are many tourists that travel to West Lake every year. According to the reports, West Lake is the most popular place for people to choose for traveling. What's more, there are many famous foods' names that derive from West Lake. For example, West Lake vinegar fish, West Lake Long Jing shrimp, and so on. These foods are very popular there. Actually, when you are sitting besides West Lake and eating these foods, you will never forget this feeling. It is really dramatic. West Lake is really worthy for you to travel to. I love Hangzhou, and I love West Lake! If you want to see the most beautiful lake in the world, welcome to West Lake!
My name is Yen Tran. Today, I have the chance to share something about a holiday in Vietnam; which is called the Mid-Autumn Festival or Children's Festival and is one of the most popular family holidays, held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which is in September or early October in the regular calendar. The purpose of this holiday is to admire the bright Mid-Autumn harvest moon, even in many Vietnamese-American communities in the U.S, so we traditionally celebrate this day in the brightest light of the full moon. On this holiday, the one special day in a year, we do some activities which are often centered around children. That's why we also call this festival Children's Festival. For example, parents buy lanterns for their children in order to participate in a candlelit lantern ceremony. The children not only carry lanterns but also float bright lanterns on a lake. The bright lanterns represent a symbol of success. There is a variety of lanterns to choose from, but the most popular in star lanterns. Besides that, children perform traditional dances which are called Dragon Dances because they wear big Dragon heads and crafted masks during the performance. One more activity, the most common and very necessary, is eating moon cakes and animal-shaped grapefruit, while enjoying in the moonlight as we sit together. In conclusion, I do not think there is a Children's Festival in the U.S, but I think it is important because children, the future of the world, the hope of life, should be shown we value them. I hope that you can understand a little bit more about this Vietnamese custom, and how we show value for the children in Vietnam.
From Spring 2010:
Hi everyone, my name is Peiqing Chen and I am a student from the southeast of China. Today, I want to share one thing with everyone?how to read Tang Dynasty poetry with rhymes. The Tang poetries were the most famous in China poetry development history. Most of Tang poetry has a rhyme in the last word of each sentence. In the present, most people cannot use mandarin Chinese to read the rhyme in Tang poetry. Because in the Tang dynasty, people used the classical Chinese, the pronunciations are different with the mandarin Chinese. Therefore, people try to use Cantonese, Hakka, and Minnan dialect, which foreign people always call Taiwanese, to read Tang poetry. The Cantonese, Hakka, and Minnan dialect preserve the ancient tones. For example, my hometown local language is Minanan dialect. When I studied in high school, we used mandarin to read one of Tang poetries and we could not find the rhyme; then, my Chinese teacher tried to use Minnan dialect to read the Tang poetry. We could hear the rhyme in the end of the sentence.
Hi everyone. My name is Tommy. I am from China. M y major is accounting at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. I am a freshman. Today, I would like to share my ideas about the differences between America and China. In my individual idea, American guys are really friendly and warm-hearted. They are especially easy to talk to. Some of my friends here are just like that. For example, my ex-neighbor named Justin. I can remember clearly our first time meeting, in front of my house. In that time, it was the winter. We had to clean up the snow, which blocked the side walk. That was my first time cleaning up the snow in America, and I did not know how to do it. Well, Justin just appeared, and asked me if I needed help. He is a very good partner. I thought that we at least needed 20 minutes to finish, actually, we just needed 8 minutes because of his hard work. Then, we became nice neighbors. He came to my house to BBQ. He invited me to join their party and play ?beer pong.? Another one of my friends is our ESL tutor named Laura. She is a typical American girl. We just met a few times, and she invited me and my classmates to her home. Her family is very kind. In contrast to American families, inviting friends to our house does not happen in China very often, because homes are private places to Chinese people. In ancient times, if you went to an unmarried girl?s bedroom, you would be punished by local government. Even today, Chinese thinking has not changed too much. Another thing that is different about Chinese thinking is that mostly Chinese do not like to speak out their ideas actively. If you wanted to talk with a Chinese person, at first, you might feel uncomfortable, as if he/she does not want to talk with you, but he/she probably just feels too shy, or he/she does not want to share too many of his/her own ideas. However, if you push them to talk more, and you may find he/she has a lot of ideas inside. If you are having problems with making friends with Chinese people, you may need these suggestions.
Hello everyone, I?d like to introduce China?s SFTR. It is a typical phenomenon of China. First, let?s begin with the definition of the SFTR. The festival rush is a large scale high stress transportation issue that takes place before and after the SF. The FR lasts roughly 40 days each year. It is one of the largest cyclical migrations in human history. There are usually more than 20 million travelers that migrate. The population represents 1/3 of the world?s population. The FR group consists of students and workers who study and work far away from home.
Next, we will focus on the reason and solution of the FR. There are 3 major reasons for the FR, which are the uneven economic development, low capacity of transportation, and too few holidays. The Chinese government has been perplexed by this huge problem for a long time. They reschedule the railway and airplane schedules before the FR. However, the pressure of the transportation is still extremely huge. Therefore, the Chinese government is thinking about a new way to resolve this problem, and hopefully they will solve it soon.
In conclusion, I talked about the definition of China?s SFTR, its reason and its solution. Hopefully, you now know some new things about China from my speech.
Shaonan Wu (Owen)
Today I would like to talk about the differences between the Chinese college system versus The American college system.
College life is one of the important stages that every student would want to try. At this stage the educational system is extremely important to the students. Different countries have different educational systems, so Chinese colleges and American colleges have differences too. The Chinese college system has three major differences from the American college system: the entrance exam, class and major choice, and graduation.
The first difference between the Chinese college system and the American college system is about the entrance exam. In China, everything students do is about how to get into good universities. It starts from elementary school all the way to the students getting the acceptance notifications from the universities. Every year, only 50% of high school students can get into universities, and before that, only 50% of middle school students can get into good high schools. Each time 50% of the students have to beat the other 50 % to win the opportunities for studying at universities. If students fail the exam, they have to re-do it the next year. They have to start over again. The test itself has four major subjects, such as math, English, Chinese, and science complex or liberal arts. Some of the knowledge or questions are similar to the university level in America. Universities only look at students? total scores; on the other hands, they don?t know what students are good at. They only take the students who have higher scores. The college entrance exam in China is extremely hard and cruel; however, at 8000 miles away, almost every single American students have chance to study at universities. Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT is the college entrance exam used in the United States. The test is based on the students? abilities, not their scores. According to some of the Chinese students who have taken the SAT, the complexity is a lot easier than the Chinese college entrance exam. For example, the science section, such as math, chemistry, and physics are easier. Furthermore, every year American students have four to six chances to take the test. If they fail, they still have more than three times to re-take it in the same year.
Another distinction between the Chinese college system and the American college system is how students choose their classes and majors. In China, students choose their majors before they go to the schools. Lessons are arranged by the schools in freshman year, so students can quickly focus on their own majors. Students do not take any other main courses outside their majors, but they can choose the lab sections which are not very important for their credits. Also the probability of a student to change majors or double major is about zero. In Contrast, American students choose their classes by themselves, and also they have the freedom to change majors or double major. American students can even choose classes that nothing related to their majors. For example, one of my friends had double major in finance and accounting, but every semester she chose Chinese class just for fun. That would not happen under Chinese university system.
The biggest difference between the Chinese college system and the American college system is graduation. In China, the hardest thing is getting into college. Whenever students get into colleges, they do not worry about graduation. This is what we called ?hard entrance, easy out?, but it is totally opposite in the United States. Students can easily get into colleges, but the difficulties come right after their first two weeks. 30% of American students drop classes after the first two weeks of school. For example, my first HPR class had 500 to 600 students in the classroom, and only about two or three weeks later the number of students in that room was around 300 to 400. We had more than 100 students dropped that class. Moreover each year classes will be harder and harder, so many students change majors. According to the Career Development Center at the University of Nevada, 70% of undergraduate students nationally change their majors at least once in the course of their undergraduate study. It is absolutely an ?easy entrance, hard out? system in the United States.
In conclusion, the Chinese college system and the American college system have three major differences; the college entrance exam, class and major choices, and graduation. The Chinese college system has arranged classes, and students have to work hard year after year to prepare for getting into the system. Although when American students get into college, they will have the freedom to choose classes and majors. By the time they under the system, they will face to more and more difficulties each year. It is always fun to try a different learning system which has so many differences from the one back home, and I enjoy studying in the United States.
My name is Kazuki Kaneko. I?m from Japan, and I?m pursuing an MBA. I have already graduated from university in Japan and came to the US to get a master?s degree. Today, I will talk about a difference between American and Japanese universities. The most interesting difference I found is that compared to Japanese professors, American professors tend to give more homework. When I came to the US, I did not expect to get so much homework because I was not used to doing that in Japan. I know why Japanese professors don?t give so much homework. It is not because they are lazy about grading. It is because they consider university students as mature enough to study by themselves. Professors think even though they don?t give homework, students know what they have to do and study by themselves. However, I do not think university students are mature enough to study by themselves. I have seen a lot of students who did not study at all. That?s why they could not graduate from university. Here is another difference between American and Japanese universities. In my university, we don?t have a lot of exams. I had two exams a year. It was because Japanese professor think that lectures are more important than exam. In the US, students usually have 3 or 4 exams in each semester. I think this is kinder to students because they have better chance to get a good grade. In Japan, if we fail in one exam, it is really hard to catch up because we have just one more exam. In the end, I think the American university system suits me because I study more in UWL than in my Japanese university. I recommend Japanese university for independent leaner and if you need a direction to study, you had better go to American university.
Hello, everyone, my name is Hui. I am from China. I am 20 years old now. This is my second year here. La Crosse is a beautiful place. Today, I want to tell you about some Chinese culture.
Americans are more independent than Chinese. Most Americans live by themselves during college. If they don?t move out, they will be laughed at by their friends and classmates. They work and earn money by themselves. In China, we usually live with our parents until we get marry. Sometimes we always live with parents even though we get marry. Old men in the U.S. are also independent. They take care of themselves. They live without their children. For example, my teacher Liz told us that her mother is already 90 years old, and she wants to move to her mother. It is easy to take care of her mother, but her mother doesn?t agree. Her mother thinks she can take care of herself. It is totally different with Chese. A long time ago, most old men lived their children. It?s tradition. Even though some of them don?t live together now, they always see their parents every week. The cultures are different, so some minds are different. American are more independent than Chinese.
Vietnam has many well-known places. One of those are Ho Chi Minh City with Saigon harbor, Ha Long bay, which is in New 7 Wonders of Nature finalists, Nha Trang with Vin-pearl land and Da lat- The kingdom of flowers and fruits. However, Sa Pa, a city in northern Vietnam, is definitely not the magnificent place. But it is one of the most culturally diverse places in Vietnam. Located in Lao Cai province, approximately 350 km from the capital of Viet Nam, Sa Pa is known for its unique culture, breathtaking sceneries, and ethnic traditions.
The town of Sa Pa lies at the altitude of about 1,600m and is surrounded by the Hoang Lien Son range of mountains. The high altitude gives Sa Pa its ideal climate, especially for tourists, cool in the summer, foggy and cold in winter with occasional snowfall. Sa Pa is home to a great diversity of ethnic minority people. It is likely that Sa Pa highland minority was first inhabited by highland minorities of Hmong and Yao group. Most of them live in small villages, hamlets scattering in valleys and mountains throughout the district. The most special things that make Sa Pa becomes different from other famous places is the paddies rice fields. I am very impressed with the green fields, which spread to reach the horizon.
More over. In Sa Pa, every Saturday, it has a particular market, which is called ?LOVE MARKET?. Different from others market, this market is opened not for trading purpose. Saturday is the day for every one, regardless of height, gender, and social role to come to the market to find their true love or to share their love stories with others. This is a famous place that makes everything for eternal love, such as a hand made jewelry or a small luck charm.
The last thing I am sure that you will notice about Sa Pa is when you approach the resort town which are some detached wooden mansions and villas perched on a hilltop or hillside, behind thick pine forests and almost invisible in the foggy and mystery morning. Old and new villas with red roofs now appear and now disappear in the green rows of trees, bringing to the town the beauty of European towns.
Fresh and cool air in Sa Pa is an ideal climate condition for growing temperate vegetables such as cabbage, chayote, precious medicinal herbs, and fruit trees such as plum, pear?People in Sa Pa use the water from the spring to make a special kind of wine, which called ?wine drunk out of a jar through pipes?. Drinking that special wine is accompaniment with a dance of the Thai ethnic minorities and drum beating. All this is to help the host and guests forget all their daily worries and enjoy to the utmost the pleasure of tasting the most special natural wine in Viet Nam
In conclusion, Sa Pa is one of the most famous places in Vietnam for its beautiful natural sense, and special cultural. If you go to Sa Pa once, I am sure none of you could resist its beauty and the attraction.
Good morning. My name is Ha. I come from Vietnam. Today, I?ll introduce you to Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, or ?pho.? It is the most traditional food in my country and very popular with foreigners. No one can forget the taste of ?pho? after trying it. Pho was originated in Ha Noi, and then spread over Vietnam. It is composed of thin white rice noodles, in clear beef bone broth with thin well medium cooked cuts of beef. In addiction to noodles and beef, people can eat pho with some ingredients such as green onions, white onions, and lemon grasses. These ingredients are dependent on each person?s taste. When people eat pho, they can taste the sweetness from the beef bone broth, or the sourness from the lemon. Now days, there are a lot of recipes for pho. However, I?ll share with you the simplest way to make ?pho? by yourself. First, bring a large pot of water with beef bones to boil, and then reduce it to a simmer for 4 hours. During the final hour, you?ll add the onion, ginger, pepper, sugar and salt, and let it simmer for an hour. At the same time, boil water in another pot, add one package of rice noodles and boil them until soft, and then drain noodles. When tasting the broth, if you need more seasonings, add what you like. Put the noodles into bowl with thin cuts of beef boiled in the broth, and green onions on top of the beef. You can eat the noodle soup after putting the broth into that bowl. It seems easy to cook ?pho? at home, but it?s hard to make it delicious. Different people make ?pho? in different ways. In Vietnam, there are a lot of restaurants serving ?pho? from generations to generations, which made them famous. Due to these reasons, I highly recommend you to try the noodle soup.
I am Yu Nakamura, from Japan. I started studying abroad in California on May 31st 2008 and transferred to UWL last month, so I have experienced the United States a lot, and today, I am talking about a cultural difference which is one of the hardest for me to adjust to: American fast food.
Fast food is widely spread across the world--especially in the States, it is available everywhere usually at the lowest price. Yes, it is cheap and tasty and served fast, yet fast food such as burgers and French fries are fatty, salty, and quite high in calories. What I have been surprised at and what does not make sense to me are that UWL and many American universities require students to take health education class, which teaches how to be healthy, including about nutrition that our body needs as a General Education Requirement. Nevertheless, for example our school, UWL requires students living on campus to purchase a Meal Plan. A Meal Plan is a good idea and convenient, but our school mainly offers the same types of fast food at any place, and there are very few fresh vegetables and fruits. Even if it is not fast food, campus food contains much more sodium and fat than our body needs.
On the other hand, Japanese universities do not require, rather, they do not teach health education at all except for some special schools. Fresh salad, water, and non-sugared tea are always available everywhere, but we do have fast food such as Mc Donald and Burger King. Healthy food prices are getting less expensive as Japanese are interested in promoting their health.
I am really concerned about my health. Our school should promote students health not only by teaching Health Education, but also by offering fresh healthy food as well as the fast food most people love.
The Things My Parents Told Me
My family is a traditional Chinese family, consequently, the way my parents educate me is follow the typical ?Chinese parents?? style. The things they told me are the things other Chinese parents tell their children.
1. The respect to eldership is one of the most important qualities to a person. In China, show respects to the people, no matter whether they are family members or not, is very important to everyone. Because according to traditional Chinese thoughts, filial piety is one of the basic qualities for everyone. My parents set a good example to me: we go to see my grandparents every weekend and all the festivals; they will consider their parents? need when we are going to do something.
2. Study is the most important thing to a student. Because of the fierce competition, although graduate from top universities do not have guarantee to get a good job in currently, there do have guarantee that students will have to find a good job if they do not have a great scores. Like most of Chinese parents, the things they emphasized everyday is to study hard and do not do anything which do not have any benefit to improve my grade.
3. Easy-going is the way we get along with others. My father always says that do not worry about petty gain or loss. Maybe you suffer losses at the moment; you will gain something else at the same time. The thought make me feel help others sometimes is my responsibility if it is within my sphere.
Maybe there are many differences and similarities thoughts between Chinese and other countries? parents? education method, that?s why we need communicate with each other for better understanding.
Greetings everyone. My name is Li Yue, from middle north part of China. You can call me Ryan. I think that?s easier for you to remember me. I?m doing MBA here but also taking ESL courses, by the end of this semester, I?m going to graduate from ESL program. I?m looking forward to make more friends here.
This is the second semester since I step into this lovely land. People are nice here, weather is awesome, and the landscape is beautiful. Well, so far so good. Before I came to the U.S. the biggest problem I concerned was food, I like spicy food but I?ve heard that there was no spicy food here, so I was pretty scared about this. But after I came, I suddenly found out that eating mash potatoes and sandwiches is not that bad, and actually I can find some spicy food in the restaurants and super malls, I?m getting used to it now.
But there is one thing that really shocked me. I wonder why is that Americans are so direct. When I just came here, I met two Mormon missionaries. They told me something about Jesus and asked me if I was interested in following them. You know we Asians are kind of affected by teaching of Confucius so we don?t really speak out but using some indirect emotions or gestures to express our true feeling. At that time I was not quite interested in this but they were so nice to me, so I say ?well, we can meet again maybe sometime later.? They were quite happy and keep coming to my place every week for about 3 months. Every time they came, they asked me if I would like to go to church with them, and I replied ?Well, I would like to go but I have something important to do so maybe next time?? And after a week they came again. If it was in our country, people should know that if I keep refuse to go means I don?t really want to go. But it really doesn?t work here. I was quite embarrassed by them because I couldn?t tell them that I don?t want to go, because they were so nice and patient to me. Then finally the RAs from Drake Hall helped me to solve this problem. You see sometimes, the differences of cultures really annoys.
Thank you for listing today, wish you have a nice weekend.
The Old and New China
I am Chinese, and my name is Ting. I have been studying in the U.S.A for almost two years. A lot of non-Chinese people have a lot of different points of view of my country?China. It has thousands of years of history. It is old and mysterious. For me, the new China is just a very young kid. He is brand new, and challenged by circumstance and himself. He is curious about all the new changes, but also he is still not prepared for all the changes. Our political and social systems have been being building for only 61 years. It?s very young age for a country. We are in the beginning. The challenges are almost in every area. For instance, economic system, justice, education?? It?s like build skyscraper in a barren land, even though under the ground, it?s a glorious and abundant city which we can?t live in. It?s a very different life then. For example, my grandmother and grandfather had such different life experiences from us, education, marriage, and so on. Their marriage was decided by their family. The first time they met each other was in their wedding. And my mother married with my father because they fell in love. Education too, my grandmother was born into a poor family, also because she is a girl. She did not get any education. But compare to my mother, it?s a huge difference. My mother graduated from university. And now, I can study aboard. China is just like any other country, it went into industry era. Usually in the past, we studied Chinese literature, Poetry, Confucianism, and ethics. Right now I am studying science, language, and so on. It?s just the same as some other countries. It?s a part of how I feel. I think you can?t know a country from books, and articles, but only when you experience it. I found this was true when I came to America.
From Fall 2009:
My name is Xing Pan. My major is Finance. I am from China. I am UWL student now. Today I want to talk about how Chinese people celebrate their New Year. We call it Spring Festival, because the date is close to spring. On that day, all of the family members get together, and watch the New Year Eve?s gala program on CCTV. Each family member tells other people what they have been doing in recent years. While families are waiting for the New Year to come, they have dumplings. We put one coin in one of the dumplings. The person who gets that special dumpling will be very lucky in the next year. For New Year?s, adults give children a red envelope containing money as a gift. We call it lucky money. It is an old Chinese custom. Red is said to bring good luck and that is why the ?red envelopes? given to children are red. It is a tradition.
Today I introduced what Spring Festival is. I hope you will like it. Thank you for listening.
Hello everyone, my name is Chunkao Su. I am from Taiwan. I have an English name, which is Simon. Today is really a lucky day because all of you can hear information about my country?s customs, especially the traditional wedding ceremony. It is very different from an American wedding ceremony, so I would like to tell you what is special about my country?s custom.
First, I will give you the background of weddings in my country. Second, I will illustrate the process of the wedding ceremony. Finally, I will explain what the difference is between the traditional wedding ceremony and today?s wedding ceremony. Through this explanation and some examples, I hope you can discover some interesting things about my country?s wedding ceremony.
First, I will give you the background of my country. I come from Taiwan; it is a very small island close to China and we have the same customs. There are many customs in Taiwan; one custom is that everyone is usually engaged before getting married. In the past, couples could not decide the person who they married and maybe they did not even know each other. Everything about the wedding was decided by their parents. All the new couple could do was follow their parent?s orders and arrangements.
In addition, the wedding process is very complicated. It takes a very long time to decide the day on which to wed; sometimes it will change based on many things, such as wedding cakes, wedding invitations and where to hold the wedding ceremony, etc. In the wedding ceremony, many families come together and give a red envelope containing money as a gift. To the parents of the new couple, more guests equals more glory, because all the guests will congratulate them. After the wedding ceremony, the bride and bridegroom have to stand beside the entrance to see all of the guests out. In the end, everyone who helped with the ceremony is exhausted. Sometimes I think, this is a tough time for lovers to hold a wedding ceremony in Taiwan.
Finally, I will explain what the difference is between the traditional wedding ceremony and today?s wedding ceremony. New couples don?t need to worry about what their parents think, they can choose several ways to get married. To get married they just need an open ceremony and two witnesses, and then the new couple signs their marriage certificate. Then their marriage would be legal. Therefore, getting married in Taiwan is easier than before.
Today, I was able to share some interesting points about marriage in Taiwan, the background of the custom, the process of the marriage ceremony, and finally I explained the difference between weddings in the past and today, I hope you can learn a little about the culture in my country, Taiwan.
Thanks for listening.
My name is Thanh, and I am from Vietnam. Now, I am studying at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. Today, I?m going to introduce an important holiday in Vietnam called Tet Holiday. It is very important for Vietnamese; and we have our own customs for that holiday.
First, Tet holiday occurs on the first day of the first lunar month according to the lunar calendar or somewhere in the last ten days of January, or the first twenty days of February. Tet, which is called ?Tet Nguyen Dan?, means feast of the first day.
Moreover, Tet has it own importance to Vietnamese people. It?s also a chance for family members who work or study far away from home to find ways to come back to meet their loved ones. The other reason is this is an opportunity to welcome deceased ancestors back for a family reunion with their descendants.
In addition, like every country in the world, Vietnamese has its own Vietnamese tradition. In that special holiday, Vietnamese people usually visit their relatives and temples. They take an extra care not to show anger and not to be rude to other people. During Tet, we always eat sticky rice cake. It?s very important for Vietnamese to have all members of the family try to spend the holiday together under the same roof to ?eat the Tet.?
To sum things up, Tet has it owns importance, its meaning to Vietnamese people, and it also expresses our customs. If you have a chance to visit my country, I recommend you visit during Tet holiday. And if you are lucky enough to visit Vietnam during Tet holidays, you will know more about our people and our customs.
Fasting is one pillar of the five pillars in Islam. It is during the month of Ramadan in which Muslims start fasting from sunrise to sunset. Fasting teaches us tolerance and patience, thus it has social, ethical and physical benefits.
Socially, fasting helps Muslims appreciate that they are able to have food on the table everyday of their families. To celebrate this families donate money or food to the poor and also gather together at the end of the day to eat
Ethically, in Ramadan, we not only stop eating and drinking, but also stop bad habits, and characteristics, thus Muslims do their best to be good and avoid conflicts and be tolerant with others
Physically, fasting has many benefits for the human body. Usually fasting makes the human body healthy, because according to health reports when you do not eat anything for hours you renew the blood and helps you to burn your body fat.
In short, tolerance, and patience are parts of fasting that benefit us socially, ethically and physically. Fasting teaches me that how to be a good person.
My name is Amani Alrebeh. I am from Saudi Arabia. I am a UWL student studying public and community health education. Today I will tell you about one of the big holidays in Saudi Arabia. It is called? Eid Aladha?a?. Actually, millions of Muslim people come from all over the world to Makah (Mecca) ?a holy city in Saudi Arabia? to visit the holy Kaba?a, a ?holy place?, and worship God. After completing nine days of worshiping we have a three day holiday called ?Eid Aladha?a?. We celebrate Eid by sacrificing a sheep and giving it to poor people. So, in conclusion, Eid Aladha?a is one of the most important days for Muslim people .I hope I gave you a better understanding of what Eid is.
Hello, my name is Tra. I?m from Vietnam. I?m studying at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. My major is Finance, but right now I still studying in ESL classes. Today I want to share with you a problem about access to education in my country. People in rural areas have limited access to education.
To begin with, I will talk about the education status of some places far from city. There are a few schools with bad construction and few teachers. Moreover, students do not have enough school supplies for studying, and some children don?t go to school because their families are too poor; therefore, they don?t have a chance to expand their knowledge.
For this situation, we should have some solutions to improve education for children in Vietnam. First, The government should build more schools, send some good teachers there and give them training courses. Second, we should motivate other people to donate money or donate school supplies for children there. Finally, the government needs to create a fund for poor children.
If we make these improvements, the benefits will be great. We will improve education, and expand knowledge for people in rural area. In addition, we can develop our country and develop people?s talents.
Well, what I?m saying is I hope my government will take care of the problem of poor people, especially education because education will help my country to keep pace with every country in the world.
Hello. My name is Han Yu. I?m from China. Now, I?m a UWL student and majoring in finance. Every country has its own love stories which are passed down to each generation. We also have folk stories about love in China. Today I want to tell you a favorite one of mine, which is the Cowherd and the Weaver. Like Valentine?s Day in the U.S., a special day for lovers in China is from this love story.
In Heaven, there are two celestials beings. One is a handsome cowherd and the other one is a beautiful weaver. The cowherd tends to the cows and the weaver weaves a rainbow every day. One day, while the weaver is playing around in heaven, she unexpectedly meets with the cowherd, and they fall in love with each other. Soon, the king of heaven decides that the cowherd can marry the weaver. Every day, they just spend time together in heaven and slack off on their work. The king is so angry so he makes a silver river, separating the spouses into their own individual palaces. Every night, after their work, they walk outside and miss each other?s presence. Several months later, the queen is moved by their actions so she asks the magpies to build a bridge over the river to help the two spouses to meet together on every July 7th. This day became the Chinese Valentine?s Day. The couples date on this day every year.
So, I wanted to share this Chinese folk tale because it shows that love conquers all things.
Hi I am Ibrahim Alhussain from Saudi Arabia; I am currently studying at the ESL program at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
Each culture has its own food lifestyle which is different and special. The food lifestyle is something that belongs to each culture. The lifestyle of food in Saudi Arabia has its special times, kinds of food and way it is eaten.
First of all, there are 3 meal times in Saudi Arabia. Breakfast is between 7:00 ? 8:00 in the morning, and is eaten before one leaves for school or work. Lunch time is between 3:00-5:00. It is late because each person eats lunch after he or she gets home from school or work. Dinner time is between 8:00-10:00 mostly.
Second, in Saudi Arabia we have different kinds of food with each meal. For example, we usually eat soup or lentils for breakfast. The soup is made of onions, tomatoes, water and some vegetables. For lunch we always eat a dish called kabsah, made of rice with chicken or meat. For dinner we usually eat something with low fat, like eggs or cheese with honey.
Third, eating together as a family is very important to our culture. For example, we always try our best to not miss lunch or dinner with family. We meet together at least two or three times each day, to talk together and support each other about school or work.
In brief, the food lifestyle in Saudi Arabia is different and special. We have our own food lifestyle which includes different times we eat meals, different kinds of food and the importance of eating together with our family.
Bloody violence and sex is too normal in American movies and video games, especially for some developing countries, like my home country, China. The solution to this problem is not very hard, and I have two reasons to explain why it is not good.
The first reason is China does not have an organization to enforce the law to limit the different age?s young people. For example: the game "War Craft 3"has an age of 12 years and older in America. However, in China, children as young as 7or 8 can play it. It is very hard to imagine that an 8-year-old child always gets enjoyment from killing. You may ask, why do not we do have an organization? It is too hard to enforce. There are 200million young people in China, and we cannot control the businesses who sell software and movies to young people. It is just like in America, people cannot drink beer until they are 21 years old or older. However, there are still some young people do not allow the law. Many people do not believe that to make a law to prevent the young children is useful.
The second reason is, this is a vicious circle, big companies put more and more violence and sex to make more money. Most stories are suited for all people, but there are still some bad parts more or less. In order to attract audience and players, they put more and more violence and sex in the movies and video games. In fact it is not necessary. We go to the cinema to watch the superb stories of the movies but not watch how many people die and many different ways to kill other people!
I admit American movies and games are wonderful. If they can reduce some bad parts, that will be beneficial for everyone especially for the developing countries, such as my hometown, China.
People use computers to search paper, read the news, and connect with the friends. Computers have marked their presence in our life baldy that most of us can?t live without computer for one single day.
We came with nothing, we created the computer, internet, and now we can?t live without it? Keep in mind, your brain is the most accurate machine in the world, and your body is the superior product in evolution. If you spoil yourselves using computers or spend too much hours on using them, the disadvantages happen later. You unable to do easy accounting, remember five intimate friends? phone number, even recognize the direction round your neighborhood. To worse, your body become fatter and fatter without doing exercise, your ability of oral expression and gesture tend to be improper which are caused by isolate from the real world. You do not know how to talk with your families and friends face to face. You just indulge yourselves in illusory 3-dimension. Do not blame the others, it is what you desire.
Why don?t you live a single day without using computer. Do not shopping online, do not read e-book, do not play the computer game and go to ?YouTube? & ?Facebook.? If you really want to do some things, you can go to shopping with your friends, go to library to find the book and journal you want, go to do more exercise, but using computer. It will be a special wonderful day that you can?t believe. Enjoy the sunshine outside and talk with your friends directly. You would find what the computer do for you can?t replace the moment you have now. Remind yourself do not become couch-potato, also do not become computer-addicted.
Chinese national music has a really long history. It goes back to the wild clan society where the original songs and instruments first existed. The Erhu is a really typical ancient instrument which is also called the Chinese violin. It has been around for thousands of years. When people talk about the Erhu, they instantly think of a very classical song called ?Moon's Reflection in ErQuan? which was composed by Abing. Abing learned to play the erhu from his parents when he was very young, but he did not have a happy childhood. At 4 years old, his mother passed away. At the age of 17, his vision began to go and at 35 years old, he was fully blind. After losing so many precious things in his life,Abing became a street performer. Music became the only thing that made him happy and gave him a reason to live. The song Moon's Reflection in Erquan expresses the real emotion of this blind artist who was filled with bitterness and painful memories. ?Moon?s Reflection in Erquan? has become a globally known classical music piece which represents Chinese ethnic music. Many top symphony orchestras in the world Like the Boston symphony orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra have played it time and time again on the violin, because both Erhu and violin are string-bowed musical instruments. ?Moon?s Reflection in Erquan? is the most famous piece of folk music in China`s contemporary musical history as well as Abing`s time.
In addition to the initial 11 commentaries recorded in late 2009, WPR's Steve Roisum, who coordinated the project for WLSU and produced the audio commentaries, talked with ESL instructor Carrie Melin about the project. Their overview conversation is available here.