I was lucky enough to travel to China for the first time at the age of 21. After studying Mandarin for two years, Union College awarded me a Freeman Foundation Grant to study in Xian and Beijing. This first encounter with China widened my perspective on how wonderfully different the world is if one steps outside their comfort zone. On the plane ride home, I promised myself I would one day return to improve my Mandarin and dig even deeper into a culture saturated with mystery for me.
It was my second time around that I made friends with Jing Bo (Bob), fellow founder of China Your Way. We met each other at an enrichment school for English learners in the downtown Beijing. As I had been living with a Chinese family to improve my Mandarin the daughter of the family brought me there. Bob and I immediately connected as our inquisitive natures sparked a zealous interest in eachother’s backgrounds. We promised to act as one another’s language partners until we could both hold regular conversations in our respective foreign tongues. We met every night for sometimes over two hours.
Even after I have returned to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in education, Bob and I remain friends. We still chat a few times per week to keep each other on our toes. I speak for both of us when I say that Bob knows me better than most people do. Despite an exceptionally arduous battle with a language barrier, we have managed to build a lasting relationship. Because of this feat, we feel an exhilarating sense of pride and connectedness with humanity that I cannot justly put into words.
Bob and I have created China Your Way out of this very feeling. We share a profound respect for the unveiling of culture that comes with the ability to communicate with a person from a foreign land. We wish for every one of our scholars to feel this and to want to pass it on to someone else.
As a student of Mandarin, I found that the times I learned the most were during the conversations I had with my Chinese homestay family and other Chinese friends. And it was through the activities we did together that my brain most succinctly concretized the language. Working for the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed my inklings that this was the best way to learn a language. I say with confidence that our programs are specifically structured to trigger the types of neural connections that will build a foreign tongue inside a mind.
We eagerly anticipate your visit with China Your Way, learning through living.
Samantha Seide, CEO