As the Year of the Dragon came to a close, Chinese students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s GSIS program gathered at one Chinese language student’s house to welcome in the Year of the Snake. On Feb. 14, the Chinese program had their first annual Chinese New Year celebration at Serene Bray’s house, and the event was a hit.
In attendance were students of all years from both the Chinese track and regular Chinese classes. Bray, a freshman in the GSIS Chinese track program, and her family live in Prescott by a golf course near the airport. Because the home was so large, there was more than enough room for all of the guests to spread out and have plenty of room for conversations.
With the help of all four Chinese professors at ERAU, the party began with dumpling making. The teachers and students used all of their ingredients from scratch to make the savory Chinese staple. After the dumplings were prepared, they were steamed to the perfect consistency and laid out for the guests to enjoy. More food was made later, including an Asian-style pizza and delicious egg rolls.
While some students were eating, others went out to the casita in the backyard to play some games. Rebecca Childs and Annabel Virella made an Apples to Apples game in Chinese, entertaining many people for more than half an hour. Other guests also played billiards and chatted about how their semester has been going.
But one of the main shows of the night happened at the ping pong table. Freshmen Kale Davidson and Riley McKenzie battled it out to see who would come out on top. Then, Dr. Zhan and Professor Zhou arrived and astonished everyone as they smashed the ping pong ball from one side of the table to the other. All of the students present were very impressed with their professors’ ping pong abilities.
One of the final events of the night was a skit performed by the LCH 203 classes. Written entirely by Virella and performed by freshmen Chinese students, the 15 minute skit was well received by their peers and teachers and everyone present was very impressed with how much the students have learned in such a short amount of time at ERAU.
All the students agreed that it was a fun night. “I had a great time,” said McKenzie. “I really enjoyed hanging out with some friends and met some new Chinese language students as well.”
Freshman Chinese student Harrison Barstad enjoyed the different activities available. “While playing pool was fun, I really liked the food,” he said. “The dumplings were super good. I wish Earhart’s could serve something like that more often.”
Childs also had great things to say. “The Chinese New Year party was really fun. There was tons of great food and the skit was pretty interesting. The highlight of the night was definitely when our two Chinese professors had the ping pong battle.”
So whether it was playing ping pong, performing a skit, or eating delicious, authentic Chinese cuisine, the Chinese students at ERAU had a great time at the Chinese New Year party. “And to tell you the truth,” McKenzie said, “I’m looking forward to the party again next year.”
On almost every Friday afternoon there are Chinese cultural events. These events are open to students of all majors and bring insight from upperclassmen Chinese students about the culture of China. The next Chinese cultural event will be on Friday, Feb. 22 in building 58 at 4:10 p.m.


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