SANFORD - "My second hometown" is how Guan Wang, new instructor for the Central Carolina Community College Confucius Classroom, has come to view Sanford since her arrival in August.
"As a newcomer, I never thought of being surrounded by so many warm-hearted people. How lucky I am," Wang said to fellow faculty, students, local officials and community members who gathered together to honor Wang at a welcome reception on Oct. 28 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
An English professor at the University of Sichuan in Chengdu, China, Wang is the third visiting instructor for the CCCC Confucius Classroom. The Classroom, a partnership with N.C. State University's Confucius Institute, is an important part of the college's service as a leader in educational opportunities, cultural enrichment, and economic progress in the area it serves.
"We're proud to have Guan here as part of the CCCC Confucius Classroom for the next three years," said CCCC President Dr. Bud Marchant.
"She will play a central role in the unique opportunity to help globalize the community of Sanford through the cultural and educational opportunities provided by having a Confucius Classroom," he added, citing the city's interest in developing a Sister City partnership with the Chinese city of Yixing, the pottery capital of China, as another way that Sanford is growing its international reputation.
Wang was also extended a "very warm welcome" on behalf of the city of Sanford by Councilwoman Rebecca Wyhoff, who thanked Wang for dedicating her time and passions to the community. Wyhoff called the work of the Confucius Classroom "incredibly valuable" and invited Wang to take advantage of all that Sanford has to offer.
Wang began her address to the community by conveying her gratitude to the various individuals who helped her so quickly adapt to a new place.
"It is the care of the people here that has allowed me to love my new environment. CCCC is like a big family," said Wang.
In introducing herself, Wang recounted her lifelong interest in the English language and western culture. Having begun English lessons at the age of seven, she went on to major in English literature at the Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, China, and to earn a master's degree in Educational Studies from the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia.
Wang added that her English training was always supported by her family, not only by her parents but also by her grandfather. For six years, he carried her on his bicycle to English lessons an hour away.
Wang views her role with the Confucius Classroom as a bridge connecting China and the United States with an international vision of enhancing harmony between teachers and students.
She wants to assist more citizens from all walks of life to realize what she calls "their Chinese dream" - any educational or cultural endeavor that satisfies an individual's dream of learning more about Chinese language or culture. That could include preparing for travel to China, learning the Chinese language to engage in basic conversation, or becoming familiar with Chinese customs for business dealings.
In relating her aspirations for the Confucius Classroom in years to come, Wang expressed her desire to have her mother, a professional artist in meticulous traditional Chinese painting for 40 years, visit her and assist in offering cultural and artistic outreach programming as a guest artist for the Confucius Classroom.
Following Wang's presentation, current student Charles Sutherland, of Sanford, spoke of his appreciation for Wang and for CCCC in providing community members the opportunity to become "culturally sound" through the study of the Chinese language and the participation in various cultural events.
To conclude the reception, Jon Matthews, CCCC dean of University Transfer, Health Science, and Developmental Studies, presented Wang with various articles bearing the college's logo as an expression of welcome.
CCCC's Confucius Classroom was founded in 2009 in partnership with N.C. State University's Confucius Institute and Nanjing Normal University. It was the first community college in the nation to have a Confucius Classroom.
The CCCC Confucius Classroom promotes an intercultural exchange of language and culture through a range of educational and outreach activities, including hosting cultural events and offering both curriculum and continuing education Chinese language courses.
Guan Wang is available for presentations or seminars for community groups, area businesses, and local schools. Topics include food, travel, business practices and etiquette, art, customs and holidays, and languages of China.
To schedule a CCCC Confucius Classroom presentation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Classroom, visit www.cccc.edu/confucius.
Central Carolina Community College Confucius Classroom instructor Guan Wang (center) is greeted by Bob Brickhouse (left), CCCC trustee from 1971 to 1987, and Virginia Hester, a CCCC Foundation donor, both of Lee County, at an Oct. 28 welcome reception in her honor at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. Wang, a professor of English at the University of Sichuan in Chengdu, China, will be with the Classroom for three years. To schedule a CCCC Confucius Classroom presentation for an organization or school, contact email@example.com. For more information about the Classroom, visit www.cccc.edu/confucius.