By Jeff Richards (Moab Times-Independent)- Three visitors from China conducted a free beginning Chinese class last Friday afternoon, July 29 at the Extension 4-H room at Utah State University–Moab.
During the hour-long class, participants learned how to recognize several basic Chinese characters, along with their meanings. They then used these characters to create their own Chinese names.
Teaching the class were Palmer Chow, Tim Wei and Amber Zheng, who are part of a contingent of about a dozen Chinese citizens who have come to Moab to work for the summer in motels and restaurants owned and operated by Moab businessman J.J. Wang.
Chow explained that that the classes not only help him and the other instructors earn volunteer hours, but they also promote the sharing of cultural traditions.
“We enjoy sharing our language and culture here in America,” Chow said. “Especially by teaching children.”
“It helps build communication skills,” added Wei.
About a dozen people, including children and adults, attended last week’s inaugural class. Two more free classes are scheduled over the next two Fridays: on Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. in the USU Extension’s 4-H room in Moab. Depending on the level of interest, classes may continue after school starts, possibly at a later time in the afternoon, organizers said, adding that they are hoping to get more people to attend future classes.
A “Chinese Culture Night” has also been scheduled at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center (156 North 100 West) on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. Members of the public are also invited to attend that event, which will include Chinese food.
Chow said he and his colleagues plan to remain in Moab until mid-September, after which they intend to spend three weeks traveling throughout the United States before returning to China.
For more information about upcoming classes, contact Penny Richards or Michael Johnson at the USU Extension Office at 435-259-7558. The Grand County USU Extension offices are located within the USU–Moab campus at 125 West 200 South.