As students were preparing for their final exams and anxiously awaiting a much-deserved Winter Break, Dr. Virginia Garnett was traveling to Harbin, China to teach an accelerated section of English 0104. Her class was comprised of sixteen freshman at the Northeastern Agricultural University (NEAU) who plan to pursue their degree in Business Administration in the United States; many will join our campus this summer and stay for two years.
When asked what motivates them to study English, the students collectively expressed a desire to learn more about different cultures. One student offered a more poetic insight: “English is my bridge to the world.” To aid them in their study and to prepare them for their transition to an American university, Dr. Garnett led discussions on U.S. customs and culture, campus life at UNCP, and outlined strategies for success in an American classroom.
In addition to completing a number of small writing assignments designed to strengthen skills needed in a Composition classroom, the students wrote their final essay on three adaptations of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962) was a definite favorite, in part for its silliness, but also for its faithful representation of Dickens’s dialogue.
When asked what tips she considered most useful for the students, Dr. Garnett replied, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to ask questions, as there’s no other way to learn. And don’t pack your long underwear.” For students accustomed to temperatures well below zero, that final piece of advice was met with welcome laughter.