Chinese language students and native speakers: looking for companionship, the excitement of campus life, the privacy of being off campus, and loads of fun and good food?
Check out Chinese House — it truly has it all.
On the edge of the college campus, Chinese House is between German House and the Office for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice. The house offers one single and one double room on the first floor, and two single and two double rooms on the second floor. At the moment, there are seven residents — six girls and one guy. Any students taking Chinese courses or native speakers who wish to live in a Chinese-speaking cultural environment can apply to live in Chinese House after their first year. As a resident for three semesters in Chinese House, I have always enjoyed the wonderful house dinners, events, and residents there.
With more than 30 native and heritage speakers on campus, the Chinese language learning experience is one of the best that colleges of Grinnell’s size can offer. The friendly and cultured atmosphere in the house attracts many students and faculty members to cook dinners, watch movies and play Dance Dance Revolution or Magic: The Gathering.
Although Chinese House residents always welcome visitors, the house itself is great for people who want privacy, quiet, and individual space. As with all the College-owned language and project houses, only the house residents have keycard access to the front door. Compared to residence halls, which all students can enter, living in Chinese House is a more private option that still retains the excitement of college life.
Living in Chinese House is fun and convenient. Although technically off campus, Chinese House has a great location, even compared to most of residence halls. It is right across the street from the Alumni Recitation Hall, where most of the social science departments hold their classes, and about 100 meters away from the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, which contains the dining hall and is the center of the campus activities.
Chinese House always has good meals, and we take advantage of our spacious kitchen and two big refrigerators. Once every fall semester, professors and students make dumplings and other delicacies for anyone who is Chinese or enjoys Chinese language and culture. On the weekends, the Chinese House kitchen is filled with people who come to enjoy the delicious food, tea, and pleasant company. Residents often bring ethnic ingredients from Chinese markets in their hometowns to cook on a regular basis. Some common dishes are: spicy tofu, vegetable stew, stir-fry, fried rice, noodles, and—the all-time favorite—bubble tea. One Friday in February, Stephanie Wang ’11, the master chef of Chinese House, organized a traditional celebration for Lunar New Year with mouth-watering food and lovely company. We cooked new-year cake, red bean soup and rice balls, and together we chatted for two hours about work, college and life in general.
The experience of living in Chinese House is similar to that of the residence halls, while still maintaining the advantages of flexible and private off-campus living.
Liting Cong '11 is a Sociology Major and Policy Studies Concentrator from Shanghai, China.