Please read this recent article on the “English Corner.” This is a famous corner of this Beijing university where people meet every Friday night from about 7:00 pm to midnight. In the past when I have taken students there I found it difficult to get them out because they were surrounded by layers of Chinese trying to ask them what they think about Fortune 500 firms, GE’s strategy, American government and things that they thought every American should know. By all accounts, it was an exciting experience for students, even the ones that dragged their feet and thought it would be a waste of their valuable American perspective time.
What is the practical and symbolic value of an English Corner in Beijing or a Hyde Park in London? Can you think of an example of an equivalent venue in California or the US? Do you have any interest in experiencing the English Corner while in China, and what would you hope to get out of that experience in return for the effort to connect with the Chinese that you will be expected to put in while you are there?