Confucius Institute Paves Way for American Scholar to Fulfill His Dream in China

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University [Time]    2019-09-17 15:02:17 
 

In July, 2019, China in the New Era: Eco-friendly Fujian, Gateway for the Maritime Silk Road, a promotional video jointly produced by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People’s Government of Fujian Province, was officially released. As the first student to take the credit course of Chinese Language in the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University, Kevin Messenger, Associate Professor of College of Forest Resources and Environment of Nanjing Forestry University and the discoverer of Megophrysombrophila, introduced the ecological environment of Fujian Province in the video.


Kevin introducing the ecological environment of Fujian Province

Searching for Wild Animals in Shennongjia Forest Region in His Childhood

Kevin, who came from Charlotte in North Carolina, the United States, in his childhood caught snakes and raised frogs with his father, a vet, during which he went to many countries with his family, including China where he searched for wild animals in Shennongjia Forest Region. This experience left him unforgettable memories of China and a dream of conducting field studies on animals in China someday.

After graduating with a master’s degree, Kevin had successfully applied for a doctoral candidacy of Wang Yong, Professor of Alabama A&M University and Foreign Director of the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University, in 2011.

A Doctoral Candidate of Two Universities in China and the United States: A Step Closer to His Dream

In 2012, Alabama A&M University and Nanjing Forestry University signed an agreement on the joint training of postgraduates and Kevin became the first doctoral candidate to be trained by the two universities. He was happy striving for his academic pursuit as he spent half of each academic year in China collecting data in the wild and taking doctoral courses in Nanjing Forestry University. Kevin was moving closer to his dream as he was busy with his study.

A Member of the Preparatory Team of the Confucius Institute, the First Student of the Credit Course of Chinese Language and an All-round Staff Member

In 2012, preparations were made for the construction of the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University. Kevin became a member of the preparatory team, actively participating in various work.

In 2014, the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University was officially established and Kevin became the first student to take the credit Chinese Language course. Quite obsessed with Chinese language, characters and culture, he made great progress and gradually became a China hand among his American fellows, whom a lot of students and even teachers would turn to when they met with difficulties in learning Chinese language and culture.


Kevin and the teachers of the Confucius Institute

At that time, Kevin had actually became an all-round staff member of the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University, actively assisting in recruiting students for the Chinese language class of the Confucius Institute and holding various activities related to Chinese culture. When he was studying in the Confucius Institute, his dream of conducting research in China was clearer, and the mastery of Chinese language and culture also made him more confident in continuing his academic career in China.

Giving up the Position in the United States While Taking a Position in Nanjing Forestry University and Study China

Kevin became a doctoral graduate cultivated by Alabama A&M University of the US and Nanjing Forestry University of China and obtained his double doctoral degrees in May and July of 2017. In 2018, he gave up the position as the professor of Alabama A&M University and accepted the job offer from Nanjing Forestry University, thus starting to teach and conduct scientific research in China.

Kevin is doing his job well in China. After he appeared in the global promotional video of Fujian Province, FJTV broadcast a series of reports about Kevin’s research in China this August. Before that, CCTV 4 had broadcast twice the documentaries about Kevin’s research on the snakes in Shennongjia Forest Region in Across China.


Kevin taking part in the activity of promoting scientific knowledge to people living in Wuyi mountain area

Kevin loves Chinese culture and the Chinese language and is enthusiastic about the cultural exchanges between China and the United States. He said that the Confucius Institute offers an opportunity for American people to get in touch with China and Chinese culture and that the program of visiting China offered by the Confucius Institute, in particular, allows American students to feel and know about a real China directly. “I’m grateful that I have been connected to the Confucius Institute in my life because it is through the Confucius Institute that I have learned Chinese and Chinese culture and made friends with Chinese people and it is the Confucius Institute that has helped me fulfill my dream of doing academic research in China!” said Kevin.

Story by Wang Yong

 
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