Campus club provides in-depth view of Chinese culture

Marlen Cardenas, Reporter

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Senior global studies and East Asian languages and cultures major Sefrah Muhammad started going to Chinese Culture Club after she chose to learn Chinese for her major’s language requirement. 

“I really love the Chinese language and the culture,” CCC president Muhammad said. “I just wanted to put my love for that into the new position that opened up when I became vice president (of the club) last year.”

There are people more open to learning about other East Asian cultures like Japanese and South Korean culture, but more hesitant when it comes to learning about Chinese culture because of the socialist stigma around the country, said Xie.

“As someone from China, I do not want to downplay these issues,” Chinese professor and mentor to CCC, Wendy Xie said. “I do want the students to be aware of the political issues, but also see through and know that there is more to learn.

Although students taking Chinese classes and international students from China come to CCC, studying Chinese is not required for members.

“There are a lot of different people that are in a lot of different majors, but just really love Chinese culture, and so we can share that together and learn about different parts of Chinese culture together,” Muhammad said. “Right now, most of the people in our club are not in Chinese classes.”

CCC’s goal is to expose students to different parts of Chinese culture, junior and graphic design chair Jenna Godwin said. 

“It is different every meeting,” Godwin said. “But the goal is always to give them a more in-depth view.”

Xie said that it is not the students’ fault that they might have a negative view of China.

There are a lot of different people that are in a lot of different majors, but just really love Chinese culture, and so we can share that together and learn about different parts of Chinese culture together.”

— Sefrah Muhammad

“The socialist stigma attached to the country makes you think China is a threat, not just economically but (also) ideologically and culturally,” Xie said.

Xie said that when China is brought up they only talk about the “heavy stuff” like social issues and she wants to teach students about the culture that is brushed aside.

“Chinese culture is very much misunderstood. (Students) are being cautious because they do not know enough,” Xie said. “I think in CCC it is our mission is to promote Chinese culture in a more comprehensive way.”

During CCC meetings, members participate in culture-based activities, like calligraphy, martial arts, trivia nights, and scavenger hunts.

“(During) our first meeting this semester, we did Chinese Lunar New Year,” Muhammad said. “Next year, I am hoping that we can do a larger scale Lunar New Year’s event so that more people within the App State community can interact with the culture instead of just people within the club.”

Godwin said she joined CCC because of her fascination with the Chinese language. She said she saw how passionate Muhammad was and wanted to find out why the language was so interesting. 

“It’s a tonal language, and if you get the tones wrong, you could be saying something completely different,” Godwin said. “It really intrigued me with how it is not necessarily what you say, it is how you say it.”

Godwin encourages students to step outside of their comfort zone and give CCC a chance.

“Try exposing yourself to something different, something out of your world,” Godwin said. “Step out of your bubble for a moment.”

CCC meets Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. in L.S. Dougherty Room 113.