Founders' Letter

Greetings, friends and fellow scholars!

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.  Looking back, I never would have imagined all the opportunities that came to me as a result of my studies in China.  On the plane ride back 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.  I am so grateful for that first trip.

It was on my second trip, after I graduated college that I made friends with Jing Bo Zhang (Bob Zhang).  Bob currently acts as an advisor for China Your Way as he pursues his MBA.  Bob and I met at an English school in downtown Beijing when I was accompanying my homestay sister on her weekly visit to her English class.  Bob and I immediately connected despite a very palpable language barrier.  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 at a local McDonald’s.  We wouldn’t order anything.  We sat for sometimes two hours at a time speaking back and for and back and forth.  How do you say this?  Why do you say this, in this way?  Can I call it this?   It was one of the most intense learning experiences of my life. 

Even after I have returned to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in education, Bob and I remained 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. 

On behalf of the entire staff of China Your Way, we eagerly anticipate your visit.  I promise that your journey with us will forever change you.


Samantha Seide, CEO