Engaged Intercultural Learning
Connie Yuan is exploring two projects as a Faculty Fellow in Engaged Learning: a new Experiential Intercultural Communication course and a research project on air-quality issues in Manhattan Chinatown.
For the course, Yuan is collaborating with Cornell China Center and universities in China for exchange opportunities. Students enrolled in Yuan’s Experiential Intercultural Communication class first read and discuss theories of intercultural communication in the fall semester. They also receive training in conducting social research and prepare for possible field studies and engaged learning opportunities in China. Students visit China during the winter break, during which they attend seminars given by professors from Chinese universities to learn how Chinese scholars may perceive the world similarly or differently from the Americans. Students also visit Chinese high-tech companies and interact with people from local communities. In the spring semester, students reconvene for post-trip reflections. Yuan is also interested in collaborating with other hubs of Cornell and taking students to other cultures.
For the Manhattan Chinatown project, Yuan is working with a community organization to develop workshops that help increase awareness of air quality issues among residents and to boost participation in self-advocacy initiatives. While the air quality of Chinatown is the worst in Manhattan, and the death rate from COVID in this community is the highest among all racial communities, this immigrant community has not engaged in self-advocacy to address the issues. Lessons learned from developing the engaged workshops for this project can be used as a template for engaged learning projects in Yuan’s other courses.