USC Upstate Welcomes Two-Year Visitor from China

November 7, 2017 at 10:06 am

The University of South Carolina Upstate is working to help both students and the community gain

Dr. Guimei “Amy” Li

valuable insights into one of the United States’ most powerful trade partners and economic allies: China.

Through a partnership with the Confucius Institute of Beijing, China, Dr. Guimei “Amy” Li has joined USC Upstate’s Department of Languages, Literature and Composition for two years as a visiting scholar of Chinese.

Having the Beijing native as a full-time faculty member will be a boon for the University and the community, said Celena Kusch, who chairs the Department of Languages, Literature and Composition.

“This is the first time that we have had somebody working full time on Chinese,” she said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have great part-time adjuncts who have taught Chinese for us for a long time, but there’s a real difference when you have somebody who can be here full time and be a resource for the students and the community.”

Li’s goals are to promote awareness of Chinese language and culture by teaching both for-credit and continuing-education classes. She is currently tutoring students in Chinese and working on community outreach. Kusch said Li will begin teaching classes next year.

“I am here to extend the awareness of the Chinese language and culture,” Li said. “I will help the University to build the Chinese program, and to extend awareness to the community about Chinese culture and language.”

One of Li’s early cultural-outreach efforts was to work with the University during the Spartanburg International Festival. Li chatted with interested visitors about her native country and provided them with popular mementos: Their names, translated into Chinese calligraphy and hand-painted on paper.

She is also slated to work with the World Language Institute to offer Chinese-for-business courses in Greenville and Spartanburg.

Li is also working to arrange travel to China for USC Upstate students and faculty members.

“We also offer opportunities for students and faculty to make education trips or to study in China,” she said. “The Confucius Institute offers scholarships for students. As far as the scholarships, the students need to learn some of the Chinese language first, then they need to take part in a Chinese-language test. After [they pass], they can get the scholarship.”

As part of that offering, Li is working with the University to arrange a 10-day educational trip to China.

“The Confucius Institute has incredible resources and many, many opportunities for students and faculty to do exchanges and visits to China,” Kusch said. “So she has amazing connections to Chinese cultural resources and to the larger organization of the Confucius Institute.”

Li said this is her second extended visit to the United States. Previously, she served a one-year tenure at the University of California Davis as a visiting scholar. She has also taught Chinese in Thailand. Li earned a Ph.D. in linguistics and applied linguistics from the Beijing Language and Culture University, where she also serves as an associate research fellow and Chinese language instructor.