Camarillo, Calif., May 22, 2015 – CSU Channel Islands (CI) History Lecturer Scott Corbett, Ph.D. and Ventura College Sculpture and Ceramics Instructor Jenchi Wu will soon lead a trip to the other side of the globe to introduce Ventura College and CI students to the arts and history of China.
“I’m definitely excited about the Terra Cotta Warriors,” said CI History Major Jaime Lapper, 22, of Simi Valley. “I’ve never left the country before. We’re also going to the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. It’s so overwhelming.”
The spring learning odyssey to China is the capstone of a sequence of courses Corbett teaches on Chinese history. This international education student trip is called “Introduction to the Arts and History of China.”
Eight students from Ventura College and 14 from CI will board a plane to Beijing, China with Corbett and Wu on May 27 and return June 8.
“Jenchi handles the art side of it and I handle the history side of it,” said Corbett, who also teaches history at Ventura College. “This is the first time we’ve blended Ventura College with CI students on a trip like this.”
After landing in Beijing, the students will visit the city of Jingdezhen, where Chinese pottery has been made for 1,700 years. As a master potter, Wu will be able to explain the significance of the ancient pottery tradition.
The group will then visit Camarillo’s sister city, Shaoxing. Just as Camarillo is home to CSU Channel Islands, Shaoxing is home to Shaoxing University.
Corbett said the group will also see the well-known sights such as the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Forbidden City. They’ll see Tiananmen Square and glittering Shanghai which will “knock their socks off,” Corbett said.
CI History and Political Science double major Andreina Leon, 20, is excited about the calligraphy museum, and the chance to soak in an ancient culture.
“The Chinese have a lot of respect for their family unit,” Leon said. “Being Latina, it’s very similar. There is respect for the grandparents and the ancestors. It’s a rich cultural tradition that goes back thousands of years.”
Corbett is no stranger to China. He is the fourth generation of his family to be professionally associated with China.
“My great-grandfather was the longest-serving Protestant minister in China,” Corbett said. “One of his sons, my grandfather, was on the founding faculty of Yenching University. I went and taught in China from 1985 to 1988.”
Corbett and Wu have been brainstorming about the interdisciplinary trip ever since last year, when both attended a conference aimed at innovative teaching methods.
The two educators thought it would be ideal to combine art and history and to blend CI students with community college students who might one day want to continue their education at CI. The experience would give all the students a vision of their future that reaches over oceans and across cultures.
“We’re hoping to inspire them to imagine their role in a global world,” Corbett said. “To imagine what they’ll be doing seven to 10 years from now instead of seven to 10 weeks from now.”
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