From left, IT technician Jonathon Cain, business administration professor Bill Haney and Brenau students ZhiFang "Monisha" Zhao, Muqing "Monica" Zhang and Chenhui "Chloe" Liu laugh during a special event in the Center for Chinese Language and Culture at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
From left, IT technician Jonathon Cain, business administration professor Bill Haney and Brenau students ZhiFang "Monisha" Zhao, Muqing "Monica" Zhang and Chenhui "Chloe" Liu laugh during a special event in the Center for Chinese Language and Culture at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Faculty, staff select names with help of Chinese students

Aug. 28, 2019
Kathryne Davis
Ye "Nora" Fan helps Dean of the College of Education Dr. Eugene Williams select a Chinese name in the Center for Chinese Culture & Language at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Ye “Nora” Fan helps Dean of the College of Education Dr. Eugene Williams select a Chinese name in the Center for Chinese Culture & Language at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau University faculty and staff interacted with new students from the 2+2 program with Anhui Normal University in a special way on Thursday, Aug. 23, in the new Center for Chinese Culture & Language.

Traditionally, Chinese students pick American names as they come to America for their studies, and this practice has been used by Brenau Chinese students and professors since 2014. Mandy Bartell, coordinator for the ANU partnership, decided to have Brenau faculty and staff members come up with their own Chinese names with the help of the university’s Chinese students. In total, there are 90 Chinese students on the Gainesville campus.

“I wanted to find ways to bridge the gap between the Chinese students who just arrived and the faculty and staff in a small way,” Bartell, whose Chinese name is XinYi Lin, said. “Then they can say ‘hello’ to each other on campus. In my mind, the best way to do this was to have the Chinese teach the Americans rather than the Americans always teaching the Chinese.”

Bartell got the idea for this event after one of her students, Jingxian “Charlotte” Hu, taught Mary Johnson in the information technology department her Chinese name Li Ke Jing and other Chinese phrases.

“I saw it as a total win-win,” Bartell said. “Mary was excited because she was really getting to see the Chinese students. Charlotte was excited because she taught Mary something.”

The Center for Chinese Culture & Language, located in Wages House on Academy Street, is a place where the Chinese students can meet and get a little taste of home. The center is decorated with different pieces from ANU items President Emeritus Ed Schrader collected during his trips to China.

One of the participating students, Duoduo “Maggie” Tang, has been enjoying her time so far at Brenau.

“It’s brilliant,” said the junior English major. “American teachers are helpful and nice. They want us to talk and have deep conversations.”

Liz Wayson, director of the Writing Center, will have three Chinese tutors to help with English during the upcoming semester and thought it would be a good idea to participate and get her very own Chinese name: Bao Liz.

“I wanted to learn more about their culture,” she said. “I enjoyed it. It’s interesting to be on the other side and try to speak and write Chinese. I learned a lot today.”

General inquiries: info@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6299 or +1-800-252-5119 | Admissions: admissions@brenau.edu, +1-770-534-6100 or +1-800-252-5119 ext. 6100