Imaginary lines create border divisions. Commodity supply and demand creates wealth and poverty. Ideas. Religions. Beliefs. Culture. Customs. All serve as possible means of division, but those barriers can be breached with language acquisition. Being able to communicate with each other is the first step to truly understanding each other.
When learning any other language, many would say it’s difficult because it’s unfamiliar, but when learning the basics, makes things a little easier. The Chinese alphabet is completely different from the English language alphabet so it places students literally a square one of their language acquisition.
“I think [Chinese] is easier because we don’t have the same alphabet in Chinese, that we do in English,” sophomore Lucy Raleigh said. “Most people probably think is harder, but I think it’s easier because I don’t get things mixed up. Like if a student is speaking in Spanish they may be more likely to mix it up with the corresponding English word.
Learning something new is almost always difficult and so finding a quality teacher in an area that is particularly foreign to students is essential.
“I feel like Chinese is a very valuable language,” LOTE department head Jan Kramer said. “It has been difficult to get teachers for it and now we have a wonderful teacher. She’s doing a very good job and I feel like the program is healthy and growing. I think it’s a good thing for Bryan High School.”
Although many students gravitate toward Spanish because it is a more common language in this part of the country and has more in common with English, some students feel those things actually make Spanish more difficult than other languages like Chinese.
“I thought Chinese was a lot more interesting than having to take Spanish in middle school and they were our only two options.” Lucy said. “Being exposed to something completely different has been a great experience.”
High school is about preparing for the real world and Chinese is one of the ways Bryan High is helping students reach their goals. Chinese is becoming a predominating language in the business world and acquiring the language will only open more doors for students.
“I think now, especially since there is more of a connection between the USA and China and their jobs, students have more chances of finding a job,” Chinese teacher Qiaoling Liu said. “They can go to China and find a job and there are lots of Chinese companies here.”
Learning Chinese can be difficult, but facing a challenge and thinking is beneficial for students.
“The Chinese class gives students a completely different option and it helps people broaden their horizons a little bit to think about something as different and as challenging as Chinese,” Kramer said. “I think it’s really good for people and for some it is the ideal thing to do.”
Liu enjoys working and helping students learn something that she holds dear and is a part of her culture.
“I feel that if I teach others, I feel successful,” Liu said. “It’s kind of a communication of culture. They are learning from me, and I am still learning from them.”