First-Year Student Helps Teach Miami Staff and Faculty Chinese Language Skills

group selfie of students, teacher, and staff and faculty who were involved in the Conversational Chinese class during fall semester of 2018

By Rachel Berry

Jingjing Luo was scrolling through her WeChat messages one day when something caught her eye. In a group chat of all the Chinese first years, she noticed a post advertising a need for students to help with a conversational Chinese course for Miami staff and faculty. Jingjing was interested, so she applied and was one of about 10 students chosen to assist the teacher with the class.

Jingjing celebrates her Chinese heritage through her involvement on campus in student clubs such as the Chinese Information Association and the Han Costume Club through the Confucius Institute. She saw the teacher’s assistant position as another way to connect with people and as a relaxing environment where she could speak her own language. It was also a way for her to use her skills to help others and to get to know people from various departments of the university.

“It was really fun because you can know more staff, faculty, and volunteers, and I can make more friends,” Jingjing said.

The course, which was sponsored by the Confucius Institute, aimed to teach Miami University staff and faculty basic Chinese skills. They did not learn how the write the characters but rather how to pronounce Chinese words. During each of their 10 weekly class periods, the teacher would hand out a worksheet, and the student assistants would help people with their pronunciation. Throughout the course, they learned basic Chinese such as names, numbers, occupations, locations and how to speak in an email or on a phone call. The course ended with a ceremony where each member of the class gave a short presentation in Chinese.

“I like teaching our staff and faculty members pronunciation and their Chinese names' meaning the best,” Jingjing said. “Explaining their Chinese name was a really good way to share my culture.”

Jingjing said she enjoyed the opportunity to speak with staff and faculty about the differences between Chinese and American culture. For instance, the Chinese language does not use gendered pronouns, so Chinese students sometimes mix up “he” and “she.” Jingjing hopes that by telling people about this and other cultural variations, Americans will be more understanding when international students make mistakes.

Jingjing said she had a positive experience with the course and wants to help again in the future. Check out the video she created:

The Confucius Institute will hold conversational Chinese classes again next semester for both beginners and experienced language learners.


Meet Jingjing Luo

Headshot of Miami student, Jingjing

Jingjing is a first-year student at Miami from Liuzhou, China.

Miami Staff and Faculty who'd like to learn Chinese:

Learn more about Conversational Chinese classes

Students who speak Chinese:

To apply to be a student assistant next semester, contact Zhuofan Xu at