Having studied on the China foreign study program, subsequently serving twice as director’s assistant and authoring the student handbook for the FSP and LSA+, I am disappointed by Jon Miller’s grossly inaccurate portrayals of the programs. First and foremost, academics are emphasized. Students frequently cite the heavy workload and ask for less; the requests are always declined because of the academic priority. It is impossible to place the students in classes with the Chinese as the latter’s proficiency is much higher.
Students are expected to speak Chinese as often as they can. Language classes are taught entirely in Chinese. Students speak Chinese wherever they go since most locals do not speak English. As for dorming with local students, that option would probably not work as they cram six to eight per room in unacceptable conditions.
For co-curricular enrichment, students are required to participate in cultural activities twice a week. During the term, students also go on a week-long educational trip to minority regions of China such as Tibet and Xinjiang that expose them to non-Han customs inaccessible to many Westerners.
Students finish the FSP and LSA+ with a much deeper understanding of Chinese culture and language than they would on campus. The FSP and LSA+’s 31-year offering itself speaks to the strength of the programs.
Dennis Ng ’12
Majuro, Republicof the Marshall Islands
Ng is a former member ofThe Dartmouth Senior Staff