OU chapter of NCCHS hosted Taiwan Week to promote cultural awareness

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Anna Drumm

OU’s NCCHS hosted a Taiwan Week for the fourth time on campus.

Rachel Yim, Senior Reporter

The Oakland University chapter of the National Collegiate Chinese Honor Society (NCCHS) marks the first of its kind in Michigan.

Founded by OU associate professor of Chinese Hsiang-Hua Chang in 2016, the OU chapter of the NCCHS recognizes the outstanding academic achievement of college students in learning Chinese as a second language, encourages their continued learning of Chinese and promotes Chinese language, literature and culture in the U.S.

To increase the visibility of Taiwan, which is a key player in the world, but is often being neglected or misunderstood due to political reasons, OU’s NCCHS hosted a Taiwan Week for the fourth time on campus.

Taiwan is about 1/6th the size of Michigan, which is about the size of Maryland. This small country, however, according to data presented by an article from worldstopexport.com, ranked #10 trading partner of the U.S. and #21 largest economy in the world.

Chang has been the only full-time Chinese faculty at OU for nine years. During her time at OU, she has always looked for a variety of opportunities to grow her students and the Chinese program at OU.

“When I learned about the creation of this new national honor society, I immediately wanted to be part of it,” Chang said. “Founding and advising this club undoubtedly requires lots of my time and it’s truly not part of my job requirement to do it.  But I deeply care about my students and I believe “only when I give my best, my students will do their best. Therefore, I want to bring in more opportunities to my students.”

The documentary “Sing It!” that was presented on Thursday, Oct. 14, shows an “inspiring and spirited journey of a group of aboriginal kids who found their confidence through singing,” according to the synopsis.

Another feature film, “Listen Before You Sing,” presented on Oct. 21 was special to OU as it was publicly screened at OU for the very first time in the U.S. It’s a new 2021 film that is based on the true story told in the “Sing it!” documentary. This film presented a story about a PE teacher guiding his students from an elementary school facing a crisis of being abolished due to population migration through a singing contest.

As one of the top three trading partners of the U.S., China has had a great influence in the U.S. and its citizens in many ways. In fact, the U.S. Department of State has defined Chinese as one of the most critical languages. Therefore, learning Chinese could be a huge advantage for anyone.

“I believe that Chinese language skills will help prepare OU graduates for successful and globally-minded careers,” Chang said. “I strongly encourage those who are interested in learning Chinese to take a regular Chinese course. Many of my students can tell you that learning Chinese is challenging but not as hard as they expected. As a Chinese teacher myself, my number 1 goal is to help my students learn Chinese effectively and to make the learning process enjoyable and rewarding.”

The recent Asian hate crimes where Asians were negatively impacted in different ways, proves that there still needs more awareness and embracement of Asian culture, beliefs and traditions in the U.S. One of the ways to better understand their culture could be learning their language.

“I always encourage my students to get involved and be open-minded,” she said. “[And] I hope to see more Asian representation in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion events and initiatives, and more Asian winners of DEI awards.”

NCCHS at OU is planning on hosting an online “Chinese and English Corner” that will be open to all OU students and National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan where students from each country are paired up to connect with someone in the target culture (Chinese or English in this case) that they hope to learn.

For more information, visit GrizzOrgs or contact Chang at [email protected].