In Fall 2018, Oberlin Shansi had the pleasure of welcoming Fan Yue (范悦), the most recent visiting Chinese Instructor from Beijing Normal University. In Beijing Normal University, Fan Yue studies Teaching Chinese to English Speakers. Her time in the classroom and in group study sessions with Oberlin students has given her the opportunity to further develop her teaching skills while gaining valuable real-world experience.
Before applying to the Shansi Visiting Scholars Program, Fan Yue was impressed with the level of diversity that the Oberlin website presented. The faces of Oberlin, to her, reflected the image of America she had built from what she’d read in books and seen on television. Since arriving, she finds that Oberlin’s campus does, in fact, offer the level of diversity she saw online. Furthermore, living in Shansi house has provided her with unexpected insights into a diverse academic community on Oberlin's campus. While she thought that her worldview would only include American and Chinese cultures, her time at Shansi house has allowed her to make new friends from India, Indonesia, and Kuwait. She thinks that, by meeting so many new people from different backgrounds, she’s become more knowledgable. As a result, she wants to integrate new perspectives into her classroom.
As a visiting Chinese Instructor from Beijing Normal University, this is only the first of Fan Yue’s two years in Oberlin. While she spent some of this year feeling out the campus and her workload, next year she hopes to become more involved and take a class in the Oberlin Experimental College. She’s been cooking meals for herself more and more often in Shansi House and wants to experiment more with Chinese cooking.
Being a current student at Beijing Normal University, Fan Yue is much closer in age to her students than many other Chinese teachers on campus. As a result, she’s found a community here, often accepting invites from students and organizations to film screenings and senior recitals. She’s impressed with the kindness of people at Oberlin, observing a “friendly atmosphere on campus.” In Beijing, she thinks many people are focused on their phones, but people smile and greet her on the street in Oberlin. She was also exposed to American city life through visits to New York City and New Orleans with other Visiting Scholars. In reference to her experience teaching and learning in America, Fan Yue looks to the proverb “读万卷书不如行万里路” or “Reading ten thousand books is not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles.”
Fan Yue (2nd from left) at Niagara Falls with Faisal Mustafa (Indonesia), Louise Edwards (Returned Fellow), Hawraa Sanaa (Kuwait), and Vrushaa Subramanian (India).