Augustana College printing logo


Why study Chinese

About the program

The opportunity to learn more about one of the world's richest cultures may be reason enough to study Mandarin (Chinese), but considering that it is the language of the largest market on earth, such study becomes an even better career move.

Augustana is one of the few colleges in the country offering four years of Chinese language courses in addition to Chinese culture and calligraphy. The goal is to help students reach proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Augustana is a founding member of AsiaNetwork, and was among the first U.S. colleges to re-establish ties with China in the 1970s. Most years, an exchange scholar from Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan, China, teaches the 300- and 400-level courses and participates in scheduled conversation practice with all courses.

Augustana students in Wuhan, China, 2005
Augustana students in Wuhan, China.

Augustana offers a minor in Chinese, requiring 21 credits.

Augustana's Chinese curriculum also offers students the opportunity to travel to Asia for an overseas term. This program gives students who choose to join the Asian Term the basic knowledge and skills necessary for their study abroad.

Graduate opportunities

Augustana's student and faculty exchange program with Huazhong Normal University in China, begun in 1988, allows seniors or recent graduates to study Mandarin Chinese and teach English for one year on the campus in Wuhan. Through this annual program, Augustana also hosts a visiting professor from Huazhong to assist with language instruction on campus.

From Augustana to China

Augustana's outstanding tradition of study in Asia began with the extensive East Asia term first offered in 1974, and continues today. Augustana was one of the first among American colleges and universities to re-establish ties with China in the 1970s.

During fall term every three years, students and faculty study and travel together throughout the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan and Japan.

Through the college's connection with Huazhong Normal University, Augustana seniors or recent graduates may study Mandarin Chinese and teach English for one year on the campus in Wuhan. Augustana also offers an annual exchange program with Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

What students and alumni say

Aubrey Waddick '16, economics, French, political science and Chinese

When I was a first-year student, I never imagined I would be traveling to China... twice. From the Great Wall to Guilin, I was captivated by the Middle Kingdom's profound history and culture. Eager to learn more, I enrolled in Chinese courses at Augustana, and absolutely fell in love.

For students of Chinese, learning goes beyond just grammar and pronunciation. You delve into China's unique culture, heritage, literature and art. I've celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, cooked my own dumplings, and learned to play mah-jong alongside my fellow students and friends.... I'm already reading full-length books and even plan to study Chinese in
graduate school.

Thanks to Augustana's amazing Chinese language program, I have expanded my intellectual horizons while gaining an appreciation for a new and captivating
world view.

John D'Aversa '15, Asian studies, theatre arts and Chinese

In my time at Augustana college, I committed all but my last term of school to the Chinese department. I was originally interested in the language because it was an exotic language I had never studied before. Eastern languages had always fascinated me and this was my chance to learn something new and interesting. The professors are the gems of the program, completely invested in their students, ready to answer any questions and help in any way they can to assist in a student's learning.

Through my time in Chinese, I gained not only fundamental vocabulary and phrases, but I learned social norms that are very different from our own; basic methods of thinking that are a brand new perspective. On top of all these wonderful experiences, I keep in contact with the Chinese professors to this day, as they are truly invested in their student's success.

Abby Lange '15, Asian studies, international business and Chinese

I spent my junior year studying Chinese at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, and it would not have been possible without the instruction and support of the two fantastic professors in the Chinese department. One of the best things about Augustana is its small class sizes; Dr. Ma and Professor Chang gave a huge amount of individual attention to each of their students and are invested in the success of everyone in their classes. I took an Independent Study with Dr. Ma my senior year, and the amount of preparation she did for every class, even with her busy schedule, showed me how much she cares about her students. When I was preparing to study abroad, Professor Chang helped me choose a school and department... and gave me
great advice about what it was going be like to live and study in Taiwan.

Augustana is one of very few schools to offer a four-year Mandarin program, but what truly makes Augustana's Chinese department special is its teachers. The professors work hard to bring the language out of the classroom and into the real world by having mah-jong tournaments, field trips to Chinatown, and classes where students get to learn songs like "I Want It That Way" in Chinese and make up their own choreography. My favorite part of classes was always how much fun we got to have while learning. Learning Chinese at Augustana was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Mason Broxham '14, economics, philosophy and Chinese

I studied four years of Mandarin Chinese at Augustana and was fortunate enough to travel to China twice as an undergrad and once in the year following my graduation. I lived in Beijing (where I interned at the Red Cross Foundation) and Chengdu (where I studied Chinese while attending a local university) the summer before my senior year. At the end of my senior year I returned to Beijing to participate in a research project funded by ASIANetwork. I spent the 2014-15 academic year as an instructor in Wuhan, China; there, I was able to further pursue language study and travel throughout Asia, all the while teaching an English course twice a week.

Indeed, studying Chinese at Augie opened doors. Dr. Ma and professor Chang were patient and encouraging mentors. Without them I would have missed out on most, if not all, of these opportunities.