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Graduate School of Education Receives Fulbright Hays Award for 2020 Group Project in China


The University at Buffalo, Department of Learning and Instruction, has received a Fulbright-Hays award from the US Department of Education to fund a short-term group project abroad in China in summer 2020. The Project will provide Mandarin language and Chinese culture immersion classes, seminars, tutoring, home-like stays, and guided sight visits through a six-week intensive immersion stay in Beijing. The expected dates for the Overseas Phase of the Project are July 6 – August 19, 2020. The Project will also include Pre-departure Phase (Spring 2020) and Post-travel/Follow-up Phase (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021) activities at the University at Buffalo. A concurrent research study will determine participants’ language gains, perceptions of and increases in knowledge about Chinese culture, and personal/professional transformation.

The Project is opened to Western NY educators in the field of Mandarin as a foreign language;  second and foreign language education, bilingual education, global and/or international studies. It is also opened to undergraduate seniors committed to pursuing a Master’s degree in education, Mandarin as a foreign language, foreign languages, international education, and or Chinese language and culture. Language instruction will be offered at HSK levels 1-4 (beginning to intermediate), so the Project will not be appropriate for native, first language or high proficiency level speakers of Mandarin Chinese.

Applicants must participate in pre-departure guided activities that include Mandarin language and Chinese culture classes, lectures, celebrations, and individual tutoring. Selected participants must also attend orientation workshops to prepare them for the overseas experience and to collect data for the research study. Post-travel activities will be implemented to collect data and to help participants integrate Mandarin language and Chinese culture content into their academic programs and/or schools, such as the development of a theme-based curriculum unit, the publication of an article, a school or conference presentation, etc.

Scholarships will cover tuition, internet access and enrollment fee, lodging, airfare (up to $1,900) and meals (¥56 per day). Students must cover any additional air traveling expenses (students must travel as a group), books, additional meal expenses, visa, passport, health insurance and related expenses, local transportation, other personal and miscellaneous expenses, etc.

An application form is available on line. The apply button is now live on

Ten participants will be selected and funded with Fulbright Hays scholarships to participate in this Project. Applicants are encouraged to apply soon so they can begin their pre-departure activities.

The Project is a collaborative effort between the UB Graduate School of Education, Department of Learning and Instruction, and Gengdan Institute of Beijing, University of Technology of China. Additional collaborators are: UB Confucius Institute (Office of Chinese Language Council-Hanban), Center for Comparative and Global Education, and the Office of the Vice-Provost for International Education. Dr. Lilliam Malavé, from the Department of Learning and Instruction, is the principal investigator and Project director.

We encourage eligible students, teachers  and educators to apply and/or forward this announcement to colleagues who might be interested. For additional information, view the Fulbright-Hays Mandarin Language and Chinese Culture Immersion Project webpage at

or contact Dr. Lilliam Malave at


UB Confucius Institute and World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara To Host China Town Hall November 18

On Monday, November 18, the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI) and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara (WTCBN) will host China Town Hall in 403 Hayes Hall on the UB South Campus. China Town Hall is an annual national day of programming on China organized by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

China’s rapid development and Sino-American relations have a direct impact on the lives of nearly everyone in the United States. China Town Hall provides Americans across the United States the opportunity to learn from leading experts about important policy issues and engage in discussion with them. 

The event will begin at 5:00 pm with a local roundtable on tariffs and trade, followed by a national webcast at 6:00 and Q&A and discussion at 7:00. Registration and refreshments will be served beginning at 4:30.

China Town Hall is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is requested online at or by email to

The China Town Hall 2019 national webcast will consist of a panel discussion moderated by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Panelists will include:

  • Melanie Hart, Senior Fellow and Director of China Policy at the Center for American Progress
  • Yasheng Huang, Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Stephen Orlins, President, National Committee on United States-China Relations
  • Ely Ratner, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies, Center for a New American Security

The local roundtable with presentations and discussion will include:

  • Winston Chang, Professor of Economics, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Damon Piatek, President and CEO, Welke Customs Brokers USA
  • John Thomas, Professor of Operations Management and Strategy and Dean Emeritus, School of Management, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Free public parking after 3:00 pm is available on the UB South Campus. The closest parking lots to Hayes Hall are the Townsend, Parker and Diefendorf lots.

View the South Campus map to find Hayes Hall (#1 on the map), handicapped parking options, and other parking lots.

For additional information and questions:
Bruce Acker at the Confucius Institute (716-645-7919 /
Ashica Ambu at World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara (716-852-7160 /  

How The Confucius Institute Impacts A Non-Traditional Student

By John Guernsey

Age is not a factor in language learning. I am an average man and education was always difficult for me. I am well-spoken and present myself well, however, I read poorly and struggle with spelling. With these challenges why would I choose to learn Chinese in my mid-forties? Simply because I can.

Recently I had the privilege to travel with the Confucius Institute to Beijing for a two-week cultural and language study program. What an incredible mid-life experience I was about to embark on. I had studied on my own for three years with minimal success when I decided it was time to see if my Chinese studies were a reasonable venture. After speaking with the Confucius Institute at Binghamton University I attended Chinese 103, The Heritage Learner Class. Mind you, I am a 49-year-old white male with no Asian blood. The students accepted me as a peer in the classroom and my language began to improve. I was invited to Project Pengyou (Project Friend) and made more Chinese friends. I still have a language partner from this meeting and I am proud to call her my friend. After completion of Chinese 103, I had improved a great deal, but I was not ready to move to the next class level. Managing a career, family, and completing my obligations at home once again slowed my progress.

In April I received an e-mail saying I qualified to join the Confucius Institute at the University at Buffalo for a two-week trip to Beijing in July. I instantly said I cannot go, but my daughters said, “What would you tell us to do?” I replied, “I would say figure it out. You don’t want to miss an opportunity.” I wrote a letter to the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute and was accepted to attend. I got my passport, visa, and air travel booked and with a renewed excitement I began to study Chinese any way I could. No Chinese friend was safe. At the Chinese restaurant, I practiced ordering and paying in Mandarin. At work, my Chinese friends gave me English words and I would give them the Chinese equivalent for that word. At home, I watched YouTube, Chinese Videos and Vlogs.

Before I knew it, it was July 5th and I was on my way to Beijing. After a missed flight connection, five plane rides and 36 hours I was in Beijing: excited, nervous and tired. After a shuttle ride to Capital Normal University, it was time for my first China adventure. Several of my classmates and I went to buy dinner. After a lot of pointing and broken Chinese, I had my first delicious Chinese meal. Monday started with the opening ceremony then off for a placement test. I only answered two or three questions and knew this would be an adventure. Obviously, I was placed in level one, but I felt that fit. My classmates again saw no age barrier and I participated along with them. Every day was another challenge in the class with a reward of a sightseeing trip in the afternoon. Buying breakfast, lunch and dinner quickly gave me confidence in my ability to survive.

We visited Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, bought subway tickets, rode subways and trains. I was in China! It is still surreal when I reflect. We watched the Chinese people living life no different than us. Yes, the culture is very diverse and different, but you see people just trying to have a happy productive life. I witnessed kids playing soccer and basketball, parents and grandparents spending time with children, drivers driving, cooks cooking, and teachers teaching. I saw young people heading to school and work, bought tea from teenagers and clay pottery from old men.

The Confucius Institute had given me an opportunity to see China unfiltered. They gave me classes to improve my language skills, arranged tours for cultural exposure and gave me free time to observe and interact at a very real level. I would love to tell all about how being on the Great Wall changed me in a profound way, but the reality is the profound influence was a culmination of all my experiences.

Two hundred miles an hour on a train is awesome, but so is climbing a trail at Xiangshan Mountain to see Beijing light up at night, seeing Shanghai glowing and full of vibrant life, then walking through a garden that is almost 600 years old.

This trip gave me exposure few people get to have. I was not a tourist fumbling to communicate and struggling to enjoy, nor was I a businessman bouncing between meetings and hotels tired and frustrated with a clear goal. I was there as a guest with the sole purpose of experiencing China at its fullest. I intend to return to China to widen my exposure. I still study the language with varying success, but truly enjoy my language journey.

Reflections on My Experience at Capital Normal University

By Jatsia Kramer Chen

Whenever someone has asked me how my trip to China was, I always reply with,
“Amazing.” But honestly, I feel as though that word doesn’t encompass the feelings and the
experience I was able to have visiting Beijing and Shanghai. On an academic level, it was an
invaluable experience being able to not only attend Capital Normal University in Beijing, but
also interacting with locals daily, forcing me to utilize the Mandarin that I was learning and truly
test my recall in conversation. My conversational skills improved significantly, allowing me to
expand my vocabulary and become a little more confident in my speaking ability. I was even
able to bargain for souvenirs!

Visiting China has only fueled my motivation to improve my Mandarin so that I can use
it on a professional level; working in the healthcare field, I’m likely to encounter people from all
over, and I’d like to be able to communicate with my patients in their native language if I can. I
feel incredibly determined to study hard and practice my language skills more so that I can
improve. Going to formal Chinese classes every day, in which there was an equally strong
emphasis on writing and speaking, I realized just how much I enjoy character writing (even if
I’m still really slow at writing it) and how much I’d like to improve on that end, as well.
This was my first trip traveling on my own and while it was nerve-wracking at first, I
quickly became more confident and excited by the experience. I made really great friends on the
trip and we were able to bond as we sweated like crazy hiking in Fragrant Hills and the Great
Wall. We were able to plan our own trips to places like the Beijing 2008 Olympic Bird’s Nest
Stadium and Fragrant Hills. Along with that, our group was able to visit all kinds of places
together, as well as experience family-style dining at restaurants, where we enjoyed authentic
Chinese cuisine together. The experience still feels so surreal–to be able to say that I’ve been to
Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing and went to the Bund and Oriental Pearl
Tower in Shanghai is insane! And the more I explored these cities, the more I realized how much
I’d like to return to not only practice my language skills, but also to explore other cities in China,
along with the history embedded in them.

And at every site we visited, I met locals and other travelers alike–it made me realize just
how incredible it is to be able to connect with people across the world and learn about their
culture the way I did on this trip.

UB Confucius Institute To Host Conference on Human Capital and Economic Development in China, October 5-6

While numerous factors have contributed to China’s phenomenal growth performance of roughly 10% annually for over three decades, investment in physical capital and adoption of existing technology have been two major driving forces. However, as China joins the ranks of other middle-income countries, continued economic growth will depend critically on technological innovation, which in turn depends on the quality of its labor force.

On October 5-6, scholars from the United States and China will assemble at the University at Buffalo (UB) to present their research on a wide range of issues concerning human capital investment in China. The conference is cosponsored by the UB Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development, UB Department of Economics, and UB Confucius Institute.

The conference will be held in 509 O’Brian Hall on UB’s North Campus. It is free and open to the public.

Presentations will examine interactions between migration and education decisions, gender and income inequalities, higher education system, and the role of social and family environments in human capital production. The conference also features a keynote speech by a leading scholar in the field of human capital, Isaac Ehrlich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Economics, founding editor of the Journal of Human Capital (published by the University of Chicago Press), and Director of UB’s Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer, and Economic Growth and Development.

UB Confucius Institute Director and Professor of Economics Zhiqiang Liu, PhD, says, “Scholars from the United States and China who have conducted significant research in the area of human capital will discuss economic and social issues in China that have important policy implications. This conference is particularly timely in light of the recent growth slowdown in China.”

Professor Liu adds, “The Confucius Institute is very pleased to collaborate on this project with UB’s Center of Excellence on Human Capital, which under the direction of Professor Ehrlich organizes an internationally-recognized program of research, data gathering, and publications in this field.”

Sessions on Saturday, October 5, will address the topics of “Migration and Human Capital Investment” and “Human Capital Investment and Inequality.” Presentations on Sunday, October 6, will examine “College Access and Admission” and “Human Capital Investment: Environment and Spillovers.”

For a full and updated conference program, visit

Large Crowd Celebrates Mid-autumn Festival with the Confucius Institute


Confucius Institute Mid-autumn Festival celebration in the Student Union

On September 13, approximately 500 students, faculty and staff from UB and the Buffalo community gathered in the Student Union on UB’s north campus to celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival. The festival was organized and sponsored by the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute to showcase many different aspects of Chinese culture with a number of activities throughout the celebration.

The Mid-Autumn Festival occurs on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, which is the night of the full moon between early September and early October. The Mid-autumn Festival is a time for people to gather together with family and friends, celebrate the harvest, eat mooncakes, and enjoy the full moon. It is generally considered the second most important holiday in Chinese culture after the Lunar New Year.

The Mid-Autumn Festival occurs around the same time as the birthday of the Confucius Institute’s namesake, Confucius, which is traditionally celebrated on September 28. Worldwide, Confucius Institutes celebrate “Confucius Institute Day” during September, often in conjunction with the Mid-autumn Festival celebration.

Confucius Institute teacher Vicky Zou explains how to play the yangqin

People who stopped by the celebration in the Student Union enjoyed traditional Chinese food like dumplings, noodles, sesame seed balls and mooncakes. It was no surprise when some Chinese international students said that the mooncakes “tasted like home.”

Attendees also enjoyed a variety of musical performances. Eva Pan, a community volunteer, played the guqin; Ming Luan, a Confucius Institute guest teacher from Nichols School, played the guzheng; and Vicky Zou, a guest teacher from St. Gregory the Great School, played the yangqin. Two UB student performers also contributed: undergraduate student Yipeng Zhang performed on the suona and graduate student Chengzhe Sun played the hulusi. Students eating throughout the Student Union could listen in and enjoy the performances as well.

Gold Summit Institute also contributed to the event as they performed a spectacular dragon dance and held kung fu lessons, where people learned different techniques led by Master Erin Markle, founding president of Gold Summit. Many students from Canisius High School who were attending the event enthusiastically participated in the kung fu lesson.

Students learn kung fu moves from Gold Summit Institute

Students from UB’s English Language Institute also attended the festival, and everyone enjoyed playing Chinese games like jianzi (Chinese hacky sack), kongzhu (Chinese yo-yo), and ping pong. A calligraphy table was available for those who wanted to practice writing Chinese characters. Attendees could also take photos of themselves in traditional Chinese clothing from dynasties of past eras.

UB freshman Jadzia Lyons said, “It was great to see so many people with diverse backgrounds come out and celebrate this Chinese festival. I think it’s amazing that the UB community can come together to celebrate with people from backgrounds other than our own and learn a little bit about another culture and its customs.”


UB students in traditional Chinese dress


Confucius Institute openings for interns and work study

The UB Confucius Institute announces internship or work study openings for undergraduate student assistants in the areas of marketing, event planning, translation, language tutoring, and research. Projects and responsibilities can be tailored somewhat to the goals of individual students and their course of study or departmental requirements for internship credit.

Job responsibilities could include some or all of the following:

  • Documenting Confucius Institute events through photographs and press releases
  • Assisting with writing and layout of annual Confucius Institute yearbook
  • Helping to develop the Confucius Institute’s website and social media
  • Designing promotional materials for upcoming events
  • Event preparation, including teacher workshops, academic conferences and lectures, performances and Chinese Language Club
  • Assisting with research related to conferences and other scholarly meetings
  • Researching new program opportunities
  • Language tutoring and assisting with community Chinese language classes (for students with advanced or native Chinese language proficiency)
  • Other tasks as needed

Interns may be eligible for up to 3 credits per semester, with approval from their department. Interns registered for 3 credits should expect to work an average of 9-10 hours per week throughout the semester. Upon successful review of the intern’s work and department approval, the internship may be continued in following semesters.

Students enrolled in the Sophomore Internship Program (UBE 496) or other internship courses may be required to fulfill additional requirements of UB Career Services or their departments.

Students eligible for work study can be paid according to standard work study pay rates and maximum hours.

The Confucius Institute office location is 113 UB Commons.

Preferred qualifications: intermediate proficiency or higher in spoken and written Chinese language; strong written English skills; experience with marketing/publicity or event planning; occasional availability evenings and weekends.

Students interested in this internship/work study opportunity should email a resume and cover letter/cover email to or apply through Bullseye (postings 2959119 or 2958965).

Download a PDF of the internship/work study job announcement

Job opening at the Confucius Institute: Graduate student assistant

The University at Buffalo Confucius Institute announces a job opening for a graduate student assistant for the 2019-2020 academic year. Responsibilities are likely to include some or all of the following:

  • Providing logistical support at workshops, lectures, performances and other events
  • Designing marketing materials
  • Assisting with website content management
  • Helping orient new Chinese teachers (J-1 exchange teachers) to life in Buffalo
  • Writing event reports in English and Chinese
  • Translating proposals, correspondence, and other documents
  • Helping with administration of tutoring programs and evening language classes
  • Conducting research related to current or proposed programs
  • Daily office tasks

The student assistant will work approximately 10 hours a week, on average, during the semester. Additional hours (up to a maximum of 20) may be needed during busy periods, especially at the beginning of the semester; and fewer hours needed at the end of the semester. Some evening and weekend work will be expected.

Minimum qualifications: Advanced or native proficiency in spoken and written Mandarin Chinese; good written English skills; enrolled at the University at Buffalo for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Preferred qualifications: experience with event planning, marketing, language teaching, publication design software, photography and/or general office work.

Graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences who plan to graduate no earlier than June 2020 are especially encouraged to apply. Graduate students in other schools at UB, as well as juniors and seniors with appropriate qualifications, may also be considered.

This is a paid, hourly position but does not include a tuition waiver.

The Confucius Institute office location is 113 UB Commons on the University at Buffalo North Campus.

Students interested in this position should email a resume and cover letter/cover email to or apply through Bullseye (position # 2944945).

Download a PDF of this job announcement

Confucius Institute To Offer 30-Hour China Seminar for Teachers

The University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI) will offer a 30-hour “Understanding China” seminar for K-12 teachers, July 8-12, 2019. UBCI is organizing the seminar in conjunction with the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, the Buffalo Teacher Center, and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), which has been coordinating teacher seminars about China, Japan and Korea throughout the United States since 1998.

This 30-hour seminar provides teachers with content and resources to more effectively teach about Chinese history and culture. Western New York professors and other specialists present in-depth information and materials on Chinese history, geography, religion, literature, language, music and art.

The seminar is open to 20 teachers in Western NY who want to more effectively incorporate information about China into their curriculum. Elementary and secondary teachers of Social Studies, English, Art, Music, LOTE, librarians and administrators are encouraged to apply.

China 2019 NCTA flyer

China 2019 NCTA application

Participating teachers receive

  1. Quality instruction about China from leading experts in the field
  2. $150 in textbooks and primary source materials
  3. $150 stipend upon completion of seminar requirements
  4. One-year subscription to Education about Asia

Participants must agree to attend 30 hours of classes during the week long seminar (9:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00 for five days); create a written implementation plan showing how information and resources from the seminar will be used in their classes; and implement their plan in the 2019-2020 school year.

To apply, participants should submit an application form, with a brief statement, and mail it to:

Bruce Acker, Associate Director
University at Buffalo Confucius Institute
520 Lee Entrance, Suite 113
Buffalo, NY 14228.

With questions, contact (716) 645-7919 or

Summer 2019 Two-week Study Program in Beijing Announced

The University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI) is pleased to announce a short-term study program in China for current and former Chinese language students at the University at Buffalo and UBCI. Students at other universities in New York State are also eligible, if space is available. The program will be hosted by Capital Normal University (CNU) in Beijing, July 7-20, 2019, and involve Chinese language and culture classes at CNU and an excursion to the historic city (to be determined) in China. This program will be lead by Professor Yongbo Tian, lecturer in the Chinese Language Program at UB.

Capital Normal University will pay for tuition, meals, accommodations, domestic transportation in China, and most sightseeing activities. Program participants will be responsible for their own airfare, Chinese visa, travel insurance and incidental costs (e.g., snacks and souvenirs).

To be eligible to apply, participants must (1) be non-Chinese citizens who have studied Chinese for at least 3 months; and (2) have graduated from high school at the time of application. Students who have participated in a previous Confucius Institute short-term summer program are not eligible, but previous Confucius Institute scholarship winners may apply. There is no upper age limit for this program.

In order to apply you must complete the brief application form by Monday, April 15, 2019 and send it to

Click here for an application form

Click here for more information

With questions, please email or call 716-645-9090.