‘Immersing’ students in Chinese gourmet culture

Assistant Professor Jenny Jiang’s COR 1100 class widened its cultural perspective with a delicious dumpling party in November.

A group of 12 students gather in a line in front of a stove top.
Members of Assistant Professor Jenny Jiang’s COR 1100 class gather together in the LaRose Student Commons kitchen during a dumpling party in November.

You only need to read a few of the student reflections to understand the benefit of the recent dumpling party held as part of Assistant Professor Jenny Jiang’s COR 1100: The Global Experience class.

A student and professor lean over a stove top.
Jiang (right) helps direct a student cook in the kitchen located on the first floor of LaRose Student Commons.

“My view on culture was widened, which has also inspired me to learn more about the diverse range of customs that define Chinese culture,” wrote one student enrolled in the first-year seminar following the November get-together in the LaRose Student Commons kitchen.

Another student remarked that the experience deepened their appreciation for Chinese culture, noting “it made me realize how much I did not know.”

Lastly, a third student explained that the experience “broadened my cultural awareness,” developing “a newfound appreciation for the significance of food in connecting generations and preserving traditions.”

A male student is assisted by Jiang while working at the stove.
According to their post-party reflections, students raved about the opportunity to make dumplings in Jiang’s class.

According to Jiang, the dumpling-making and tasting party was never merely a culinary adventure, but an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Chinese tradition – and the significance of family, unity and prosperity in Chinese culture.

“My hope was to enhance the global experience for our first-year students by immersing them in Chinese gourmet culture,” Jiang said. “Food has a way of bringing people together, and our dumpling-marking party did just that.”

As one of the university’s First-Year Foundations, The Global Experience class is a first-year seminar that examines personal and social responsibility in domestic and global contexts. The course emphasizes critical thinking and creativity focused on contemporary and salient issues as informed by their historical contexts. The seminar is inquiry-based, writing intensive, and taught from a variety of perspectives.