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VIPP Connects Michigan to China

Published: Tuesday, 09 May 2017
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

The Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP) at Michigan State University (MSU) brings the best of the world to Michigan by hosting and providing training programs for international visitors at MSU campus. Majority of our participants come from China and they directly and indirectly expose Chinese culture to Americans on a daily basis. They are also introducing American culture into China.  VIPP is proud that our participants serve as ambassadors of Michigan through MSU Extension's 4-H Children's Art Exchange Program . The 4-H Children's Art Exchange is a global education program in which Michigan K-to-6th graders send "visual letters" to children their own ages in China. It is conducted by MSU Extension in cooperation with the People's Republic of China on a belief that arts translate across different culture and language. VIPP participants regularly volunteer for this event and serve as the selection committee. Their job is to select about 100 pieces of Michigan children's artwork to be sent to China and translate the titles into Chinese. It can be a difficult process as there are so many outstanding submissions each year. 
Following is the essay written by Ms. Liang Liang, VIPP participant who volunteered for the art selection committee. VIPP is proud that our participants engage with MSU Extension's global outreach initiative to connect Michigan to China. We are thankful for Janis Brinn, who manages the program at MSU Extension, for including our participants to the global project.  

VIPP volunteers with MSU Extension's 4-H Children's Art Exchange

"A Wonderful Day in Children's Colorful World" by Ms. Xinling Luo 

On this beautiful morning of Wednesday, April 26, the art selection committee members from America and 10 Chinese volunteers from VIPP gathered at Spartan Village Community Center for the art selection of 2017 Michigan 4-H Children's Art Exchange. 
Ms. Janis K. Brinn, MSU extension educator and also the organizer of this event welcomed all the participants and gave a brief introduction about the project. To help the volunteers better understand their job, Janis emphasized that Michigan children have been trying to communicate with their Chinese counterparts through their paintings, so that Chinese children can know more about life in America. Therefore, the criteria for selecting better artworks should mainly lie upon the stories kids told via their art pieces, rather than how good their drawings are.
During this event, about 125 meaningful art pieces from 11 counties in Michigan State were selected through three rounds of careful work. Then the VIPP volunteers translated the titles of these selected paintings into Chinese, so that they can be understood by kids on the other side of the globe when they are sent to China. Some volunteers from VIPP exchanged ideas of how to improve this project with Janis at the end of the event.
All the participants in this project were impressed by how imaginative kids can be and really enjoyed the process of selecting those art pieces, especially the Chinese volunteers. As one of the volunteers who has experienced Michigan culture for the first time, I felt great that I have this opportunity to see colorful Michigan State via the eyes of children. 

VIPP participant Ms. Liang Liang and her family at selection process. 


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