Earlier this year, Chinese III Honors, Chinese V Honors, Chinese I, and Chinese II classes welcomed Jody Segar, director of the China Program of "Where There Be Dragons," to speak with them about his experiences in China. "Where There Be Dragons" is an educational organization that facilitates authentic and hands-on cultural immersion programs for students, educators, adults, and schools in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This is the third year that BB&N's Global Education Department has partnered with the organization to host a speaker series.
Chinese teacher Yinong Yang reports that "Jody lived and worked in China for eleven years. He really has rich, first-hand Chinese experience. His remarkable stories were fascinating and inspirational to our students in terms of living in a totally different culture and society."
During his visit, Mr. Segar talked with the students about his time in China, shared observations about Chinese culture and how American and Chinese cultures intersect, as well described what it was like for him as American, a fluent Chinese speaker, living in China.
Anji '22, who has been to China, says that Mr. Segar's experience echoed her own visit to China. "I thought it was interesting to hear about Mr. Segar's time in China as a foreigner, especially because he was there for such a long time and visited so many places in both urban and rural parts of China. He knew a lot about Chinese culture, and it was really impressive to hear him speak in perfect Chinese. He had so many stories to share with us. I could relate to his stories about how Chinese people would be interested by him, especially as he could speak the language, because when I went I had a similar experience."
For others, Mr. Segar's talk was an inspiration to travel and learn about other cultures for themselves. Lena '20 would like to someday visit China. "Mr. Segar knew a lot of information about general Chinese culture and specifically his 'hometown' Chong Qing. His presentation was very effective in communicating China's influence on the world and the reasons behind the strength of that influence. He talked about the large population, rapid urbanization, and history of food and architecture of China. He definitely made me excited to visit China one day."
For other students, Mr. Segar's talk was a reminder of what it feels like to be an outsider in another culture and the importance of welcoming people of all backgrounds to America. Lauren '21 reflected, "I found the presentation to be very insightful and very informative about what it is like to be a foreigner in China.... I think it is important for people to experience what it is like to be a foreigner. That way they will know the best way to treat visitors to their own country."
Mr. Segar's visit to the Chinese classes was enriching beyond the additional exposure to the language. He shared important lessons about global awareness and connectedness that students will be able to draw upon now and in the future.