Beijing an enriching stint for Chinese language intern

Chinese language student Dillon Anderson on the Great Wall of China during his current internship at Peking University.

The chance to combine his loves for photography and Chinese language has resulted in an internship at the prestigious Peking University for Massey University student Dillon Anderson.

He is based for one year at the New Zealand Centre at Beijing’s Peking University while he completes a Diploma in Arts (Chinese) with the School of Humanities, part of Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dillon, Ngatimoti (a small settlement near Motueka and Nelson), says he thinks the Chinese language will be immensely valuable for any line of work he pursues in the future, “be that in my current position as photographer for the New Zealand Defence Force, in diplomacy, or in trade. Either way, I hope to be working in a field that fascinates me, where I can use foreign language and communicate across cultures.”

Dillon, who completed a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Photography (Honours) from Massey University in Wellington (2010 – 2013), says his choice to study Chinese was instinctive.

“I tend to follow my nose, so my first reason for studying Chinese is because it is fun. I enjoy learning languages, and I see much to be learned from a culture with views and ideas so different from those in New Zealand. I most enjoy using the language to interact with people, to build connections and to expand my ways of thinking.”

Discovering and understanding Chinese history and culture has been an enriching experience, he says.

“Language and culture are very interconnected in China as characters are effectively depictions of historical ideologies,” he says. “Comparing China and New Zealand allows me to not only gain understanding of Chinese culture, but also the culture I come from. I’m taking my journey moment by moment and aiming to learn and ask as much as I can.”

“Being an intern at the New Zealand Centre at PKU [Peking University] allows me to put this intercultural understanding to the test, by introducing visiting fellows to Peking University and life in China, as well as working with Chinese students who are taking the New Zealand History and Culture paper at the university,” he adds.

A recent Massey University delegation to China (from left): former Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley; Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas; student Dillon Anderson; Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, head of the School of Humanities; and Chinese language senior lecturer Dr Michael Li. Massey hosted a Friends and Alumni function at the New Zealand Ambassador’s residence, at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing. 

Massey delegation to China

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, former Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, caught up with Dillon on a recent trip to China with a Massey delegation.

“It was great to see Dillon and to see a Massey student doing so well in gaining fluency in a major world language, Mandarin,” Professor Paul Spoonley says.

Also part of the delegation, Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, head of the School of Humanities, says, “Dillon has impressed us all with his commitment to language learning and we are delighted he has an internship at the New Zealand Centre at Peking University. He’s a great ambassador for Massey University and for the quality of our innovative distance programme in Chinese language. The quality of our students, most of whom study at distance, has impressed our PKU partners.”

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