The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students awarded scholarships to study in China

Six CSUN students and recent graduates have received scholarships from the China Scholarship Council to study abroad in China.

Social studies graduate Dale Chang, finance graduate Karene Danielian, theatre student Lisa Farber, public health graduate student Kelley Friedman, finance graduate Matthew Myers and geography graduate Areeya Tivasuradej are the recipients of this year’s award.

Both Myers and Farber have previously won the scholarship and this is the first time any scholarships have been renewed. The scholarship covers living expenses and tuition.

“China is the most important partner for the United States,” said Dr. Justine Zhixin Su, director of CSUN’s China Institute. “It’s very important that we have people who become proficient in both cultures and languages. They can become the bridge between the two and the world will be a better place. By collaborating with the Chinese people, we develop our friendship and collaborations not for one country, but for all people.”

Su said CSUN students usually receive the largest number of scholarships awarded by the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. USC and UCLA only received two scholarships each this year. Since 1999, Northridge has received 24 awards from the China Scholarship Council.

During the scholarship presentation, Myers gave a speech about his previous experiences in China and the obstacles he overcame.

“I hit many obstacles along the way, yet I stayed patient and did what I could to maintain focus,” Myers said. “Over time I was able to adapt to my new environment and bridges formed over the gaps I had experienced before. (…) Education is paramount because knowledge is power, and we need more people with power to have a better understanding of the dynamic world in which we live.”

The China Institute is full of volunteers who advocate the scholarship program. As Su points out, the goal is to develop “future ambassadors of peace and friendship” so students can represent a friendly future.

After receiving a grant from the Department of Education, finance professor Zhong-Guo Zhou brought 30 international business and logistics students to China over the past two years. Zhou said the spring break trips left lasting impressions on students after exploring Beijing and Shanghai. From that group, three students have been awarded a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council, including Danielian, who will be studying finance at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

“Chinese culture has always been part of my life and I am not intimidated by the ‘culture shock,’” Danielian said. “Nothing makes me happier than to bridge the gap. People are all the same and people tend to forget that. It’s an experience you can’t pass up.”

Chang, who will be studying Chinese at Central China Normal University, learned of the scholarship program after taking a teaching program with Su and it “immediately sparked an interest” about his culture.

“It’s a shame when I have a limited vocabulary to talk to my grandma (in Mandarin),” Chang said. “I wanted to learn and this is an amazing opportunity for me to meet new people and get oral history. Everyone has a story and I want to hear it.”

At a recent luncheon, Chang, Danielian and Tivasuradej all said it is a privilege and an honor to represent their country. They cannot thank CSUN, the China Institute, the Chinese government, the faculty and Su enough for all they have done.

English alumna Danielle Cabello, who received the China Council scholarship last year, is returning to China this year and will be studying Chinese at the Northeast Normal University. During her last visit to China, Cabello covered the Harbin Ice Festival and immediately fell in love with the country.

“It’s the little things that make (the experience) better,” Cabello said. “I had a fantastic experience and they really help foreigners. The whole experience is amazing.”

Dr. Katherine Baker, director of the women’s chorale and board member of the China Institute and International Education Committee, recently spent two weeks in China to attend the International Society Music Education (ISME) World Conference. While in Shanghai, she was able to reconnect with 16 former government scholars who came to CSUN, including a mayor, police chief, education superintendent, professors, administrators, a doctor and a hospital president. Baker said it is psychologically rewarding to help these students and it is a great way to make lifelong friends.

The China Institute was established at CSUN in 1982 and has hosted several hundred Chinese scholars. For almost 30 years, the institute has provided a better understanding of Chinese culture and has strengthened the exchange programs between China and the United States.

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