NSLI-Y China student, Jonathan, discusses some of his various culture classes at 南京大学 (Nanjing University).

After our super fun four hour morning language classes, we had a really nice potluck variety of fun, interactive culture classes. Some of the classes we had were ping pong, calligraphy, taiji, and unicycle class.

Calligraphy is super fun.tumblr_n8pcdaMhPw1tegfa5o2_1280 We learn all the different types of strokes and techniques of writing with beauty and finesse. There is technically a correct way of doing it, but it is indeed an art. Therefore, at least for us Americans, there are many ways to interpret and express one’s inner artist, so almost everything looks pretty and amazing! By the end of the six weeks we were nearly able to forge ancient Chinese poetry.

Taiji, as you may have seen, is simply awesome! Under the instruction of our master 师傅, we learned step by step the foot, leg, arm, hand, and full body motions of taiji. We also got custom fit silk taiji outfits for only 25 dollars. You can't beat that price for a key step in becoming a master taiji artist.


During Unicycle class, one of our teachers brought in a unicycle that she was able to ride, and we all got a chance to ride it. None of us got off the support railing because riding a unicycle is one of those things that looks incredibly hard but actually is ten times harder. Our teacher was actually an acrobat who knows how to perform the Chinese act where unicyclists balance and throw bowls across the room onto each other’s heads. Maybe we could do the same in another life…

-Jonathan, NSLI-Y China, Summer 2014