UNK Today | August 2014 - page 41

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Teaching Abroad
Musil, Turman travel to China to teach English to others
UNK
Today
:
After Hours
By JOSH MOODY
Hub Staff Writer
KEARNEY —A history pro-
fessor and a graduate student
from the University of Nebras-
ka at Kearney experienced a
slice of Chinese life, language,
and culture during a three-week
stint teaching English in Xi’an,
China.
“It was a very good oppor-
tunity to get a chance to travel
abroad and work closely with
students in China and get the
cultural experi-
ence as well as
the educational
experience,”
said Brittany
Musil, a grad-
uate student
from Kearney
studying Sovi-
et history.
From late
June through
mid-Ju-
ly, Musil and UNK history
professor Jinny Turman taught
English at Xi’an Jiaotong
University to classes mostly of
sophomores and juniors. Musil
and Turman went to China via
the American Exchange Center,
a program based at the Univer-
sity of Nebraska-Lincoln. They
were joined in Xi’an by staff
from UNL and the University
of Nebraska at Omaha.
“Most of the student have
had some English for their
entire lives,” Turman said.
Turman and Musil said the
students they taught were fairly
proficient in English and the
focus of their efforts was on
teaching students how to write
and speak in a manner that one
might experience in the U.S.
education system, since many
of the students were consider-
ing eventually studying in the
United States.
“In American universities,
we’re more accustomed to
sharing our thoughts and
ideas,” Turman said. “Getting
them to speak and express their
own ideas in the classroom was
a bit tough.”
Turman said that the expe-
rience has changed the way
she thinks about teaching and
interacting with international
students in her classroom in the
U.S. by paying more attention
to her vocabulary and pace.
“I’ve never been forced to
think about how to get peo-
ple to express in a different
language,” Turman said. “It’s
changed my teaching a little
bit.”
Turman and Musil taught
classes on Monday, Wednes-
day, and Friday, leaving them
with plenty of time to explore
Xi’an and the
area.
“There
was work,
but there was
also a lot of
fun involved,”
Musil said.
Musil and
Turman were
able to explore
the sights
and sounds
of ancient Xi’an — one of
the oldest cities in China and
capital of the Shaanxi province.
Xi’an was once known as being
the starting point on the silk
road trading route and served
as capital city to several ancient
dynasties.
“I’m glad that I got to go,”
Turman said.
American Exchange Center
covered all expenses to send
the two women to China.
Musil expressed her appre-
ciation for the program and
described the experience as an
excellent travel opportunity that
she would not have otherwise
had.
“One thing about graduate
students is that we don’t have a
lot of money,” Musil said.
The experience also offered
Musil a very different view of
communism — a key com-
ponent of her Soviet history
studies.
“I sort of had this idea of
how communism works based
on my studies in Soviet history,
and it’s just vastly different in
China,” Musil said. “I just can’t
quite wrap my head around it.”
email to:
BRITTANY MUSIL,
a graduate student at UNK, is seen here at Mount Hua
Shan near Xi’an, China. For thousands of years Mount Hua Shan has held
religious significance for Chinese Daoists.
DURING HER
TIME
in China,
Brittany Musil
visited Mount
Hua Shan near
Xi’an, the city
where she taught
English. Mount
Hua Shan — in
the background
behind her — is
one of China’s five
sacred mountains.
“I’ve never been
forced
to think about how to get
people to express in a
different language,” Tur-
man said. “It’s changed
my teaching a little bit.”
Jinny Turman
UNK GRADUATE
Student Brittany Musil is seen
here near the Longmen Grottoes near Xi’an, China.
The Longmen Grottoes house thousands of sculp-
tures of Buddha and his disciples, and is listed as a
UNESCO World Heritage site.
Courtesy
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