A History of Calvin Connections to China
By Phil Holtrop '55

So what has happened at Calvin College itself in the last two decades? For one thing, the Chinese language program has blossomed incredibly. Twenty years ago Larry Herzberg taught four students in his first Chinese class while today he and his wife Qin have about fifty students every semester. Larry does the first and second years of language classes and Qin the third and fourth. Significantly, Calvin is the only Christian college in America to offer four continuous years of Chinese language and also a major in Asian studies. History professor Dan Bays -an authority on Christianity in China -directs the program. Larry also arranges internships in China each summer for a small group of Chinese language students, based on their particular interests. These programs range from teaching English to working in a Chinese business or film company. In all of these options, there is much flexibility. Chinese language students frequently combine their interests with related courses in history, religion, philosophy, or other departmental offerings.

Herzberg waxes eloquent about what is now happening at Calvin. "It's exciting. Students who take Chinese at Calvin College tend to be serious about using it in China . Many work there for automobile or computer companies, or else employ their Chinese on their jobs in the States or Canada . Several have gone into international business or law. A number of Calvin graduates actually live permanently in China . .Ten years ago it would have been laughable to think that one could have a career or make a living in China -but not today."

Some illustrations are impressive. Michael Brasser ('01) is the only American working for Beijing d-Ear Technologies, a Chinese hi-tech startup company in Beijing . His wife Christie ('01) is an administrator for the Beijing International Christian Fellowship West, a church of over 400 expatriates from around the world who are working or studying in Beijing . Jacob Schenkel ('00) is a plant manager for Delphi Automotive, Shanghai . Jared English ('01) is the international project manager for a Chinese automotive parts company in Ningbo . Doug Lubbers ('02) is teaching English at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, one of China 's top schools for engineers and scientists. Larry ventures that "there are enough Calvin grads living and working in China to form a branch of the Calvin Alumni Association. In fact, they suggested opening a Calvin chapter a few years ago."

A number of recent graduates are building significant cultural bridges also in American higher academic settings. Josh Gilliland ('01) is doing a graduate program in Chinese Linguistics at Ohio State University where, along with his studies, he has spent four quarters as a teaching assistant in first-year Chinese classes. He was the only Caucasian teaching assistant there in Chinese. He has also spent a ten-month Fulbright scholarship researching the language attitudes of Shanghai college students. Michael Wright ('01) is pursuing a doctorate in jurisprudence at the University of Michigan Law School and a Master's in International Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies. During the summer of 2004 he interned in two Chinese law firms, and in the present summer, 2005, he is working as a summer associate in Hong Kong for an international law company. After teaching English a couple years in China, Justin Smalligan ('00) is now doing a Master's program in Asian Studies at the University of Michigan while his wife, Xiaohong, is studying at Calvin. They hope to go back to China as a team, and in fact are both studying in China during this fall semester. Randy Meyer-a Calvin Seminary graduate ('03)-was in Beijing last year, studying Chinese language, culture, and history, and assisting Kurt Selles, the director of Calvin's fall Semester in China program.

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