My LACE experience has been excellent! This experience is unlike anything you can get in the classroom. I spoke one on one with Yue, a graduate student from China. She introduced me to aspects of the Chinese culture and told me about her first hand experiences in China. Every time we met, my language skills improved and I got more comfortable and confident in speaking Chinese.LACE is an invaluable experience and I would recommend it to everyone who is taking a language or just interested in a different culture.
Raven Willis '14
My experience with LACE was better than I could have asked for when I initially signed up for the program. I am a fluent Chinese speaker, but chose to join LACE because I didn't want my Chinese fluency to decrease while I was away from my family. I was paired with a Chinese graduate student who wanted help with her English, so she could sound more professional for American job interviews. We were only able to meet a couple times during the year because it was difficult for our schedules to line up, but whenever we met, I could see her excitement at being able to speak Chinese with me (since she didn't know many other Chinese speakers on campus) and improve her English while conversing about topics that were interesting to both of us. I enjoyed the time we spent talking because I was able to work on my practical conversation skills before I went to China the following summer. Sometimes, language classes teach vocabulary and formal grammar but when the students use what they learn, they sound strange because it is too precise or too formal. I could see that reflected by how my partner spoke and by how I spoke to my partner. We would both laugh at some of the phrases we had learned in class because no normal person would use that phrase in normal conversation.
A year later, I returned for my sophomore year and my partner was still here. We met once in the fall but then she told me that she was graduating at the end of this term. We had planned to meet one last time before she left but due to some schedule conflicts, we didn't get to schedule one last meeting time. To my surprise, one day during winter term, I ran into her on the sidewalk near Tuck, where she had been a student. I asked her how she was doing, and why she was back. She said she'd gotten a job in the US and needed some signatures from her graduate school adviser. We just stood there and talked for a while, both in English and Chinese. For us, it wasn't the language that we spoke that helped us connect, but the messages we conveyed through both languages that brought us together.
Fischer Yan '14
My experience practicing Chinese and English with my language partner, Yuxiang Liu, has been a truly rewarding one. We have a lot in common, but may not have met had it not been for LACE. Every week we have great conversations and spend a lot of time laughing about and explaining different idioms, sayings, and jokes in our respective native languages to one another. I would encourage anyone who wants to find a fun a way to make a new friend and improve their language abilities to participate in this program.
Justin Bauer '14
I applied to the LACE program expecting to find a fellow undergraduate student with whom I could practice my Chinese language so that I could improve before studying abroad in Beijing. What I found was an unlikely friend with whom I shared some of my most cherished experiences at Dartmouth and beyond. My friendship with Qingyuan, a 25-year-old Chinese man from Northeastern China, began with weekly meetings chatting for an hour in broken Chinese and English. After a few sessions, he invited me to bring some friends to his apartment so that he could cook a Chinese meal for us. My friends met with his friends over delicious food and entertaining conversation. We took a picture of the event, which I framed and gave to Qingyuan as a gift, keeping a copy for myself which I kept hanging on my wall all year. We continued to stay in contact over the summer when I skyped him from China, talking about how I visited his hometown of Shenyang. We resumed our meetings when we arrived back on campus in the fall sharing experiences like a barbecue cookout at his apartment and driving to the summit of Mt. Washington. When he told me in mid-October that he was moving to San Francisco, I was surprised, but excited for him to start his new job. I told him that I had family and friends in San Francisco, and if I ever went out to visit I would definitely see him. This turned out to be the case over spring break: while traveling in San Francisco, I met up with Qingyuan and we spent the day discovering new sights in the city together followed by a traditional Chinese lunch. I know I will continue to talk to Qingyuan for a long time, and I owe this special friendship to the opportunities provided by the LACE program.
Victoria Townsend '14
I have had such an amazing time learning English from my partner Justin Bauer. He is very nice and very patient in explaining every detailed thing about English for me. I have learned a lot of common phrases from him, and these phrases go to my daily conversation. Teaching him Chinese is also fun for me, because it is always great to be able to help others. I wish I could be partner with Justin for longer time. I sincerely appreciate this program and hope this program will attract more and more people and help them with their language learning goals.
Larry Yuxiang Liu, GR
Last Updated: 6/26/12