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Think language class is all about verb conjugations and vocabulary words?

Three students in Chinese 102 say “I Can!” to so much more by working together on their final class project—a film modeled after the China Mobile ad campaign.


Here they explain their work behind this film:

“Our group consisted of Angie Moon, Riley Wong and Benjamin Tam, all students of Chinese 102. We each had our ideas of what the story could be, and chose to do our video about a boy meeting a girl and really wanting to ask the girl out. We began by coming together to write the script. On the day of filming, it was raining, and we decided to change our script to utilize the rain. Our initial plans were to have the boy meet the girl at a bus stop. However, as shown in the video, the two meet when they coincidentally run to the same spot seeking cover from the rain. For most of the scenes, we did numerous takes in order to have multiple angles for a single scene. In final editing, Riley selected different angles, added music and subtitles in English and Chinese to produce our finished product.”

Xuehua Xiang, assistant professor of applied linguistics and director of the Chinese Language Program, describes below the assignment that led to this student film:

“A major challenge of teaching Mandarin Chinese in a foreign language context is the absence of the target language outside of the classroom, and the lack of immediate and intrinsic needs for using the target language. Having this challenge in mind, we try our best to situate students’ learning in a natural context with meaningful practices and motivating classroom interaction and activities.

“This final project for the section of Chinese 102 taught by Fiona Y. Liu (Liu Laoshi) was inspired by a series of China Mobile’s ad campaigns featuring celebrities and non-celebrities overcoming odds and achieving dreams. The ads end in a simple and relatable phrase, “我能!” (I can!).  Students worked in teams to create their own ad for China Mobile, as if they were to win a $1,000 prize from the company.”

Fiona Y. Liu (Liu Laoshi), the students’ instructor in Chinese 102, points out that “working on this class project has brought the students closer and extended our Chinese language learning beyond the classroom. All of my students have performed well, and I’m extremely impressed to see that Angie, Ben and Riley demonstrated what they’ve learned in the first seven months of class. As you can see from this clip, a beginning language class can be challenging and extremely fun, too!”

Angie Moon is a freshman pre-Medicine major.  Benjamin Tam is a senior Biological Sciences major and Riley Wong, also a senior, is in the College of Engineering.