Chinese is a language of global significance. Learning the language spoken by one fifth of the world’s population not only enhances career options, it also broadens the understanding of one of the oldest and most fascinating civilizations in the world. Situated in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region with one of the largest Chinese populations in the nation, Mills College provides an ideal setting to study Chinese language and culture.
The Chinese program currently offers the first year of language courses in its inaugural year. This new language program is designed to build a strong foundation in both the spoken and written language grounded in real-life contexts. It employs a functional and task-based approach that incorporates the 5 C’s (communication, culture, comparison, connection and community) addressed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). In addition to linguistic competence, the program also emphasizes the importance of developing intercultural competence. It is our goal to train students to reflect on their own culture and worldview through the perspectives of another language and culture.
The second and the third year of language courses and upper-division culture and literature courses will be offered in subsequent years. Students at that time also will have an option of taking linguistics courses such as Introduction to Chinese Linguistics, which will familiarize students with the fundamental properties of the Chinese language. Specific areas of interest include phonetics (sound system), morphology (word formation), syntax (grammar), discourse, sociolinguistics (language and culture/society), and dialectal studies. In upper division courses such as Chinese Culture through Film, (to be offered beginning Fall 2013) students will have the opportunity to explore China’s cultural traditions, history, society and politics.
We strongly encourage students to study abroad in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong for a summer, or one or two semesters. The summer study abroad program in China at Mills is currently under development. Students are also encouraged to attend various study abroad programs with which Mills is affiliated. A list of available scholarships is also available at the Study Abroad website.
In addition to academic courses, the Chinese program also invites students to join the Chinese club that offers bi-weekly activities such as film screenings, language exchange with fellow Mandarin-speaking students, festival celebrations, and visits to local cultural exhibits/activities and Chinese communities.
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