Dinner at the Home of a Typical American Family

Ann Salina teaches Wuhan students how to juggle with scarves.

A group of six university students from Wuhan, China visiting the Duke University School of Nursing this summer did not anticipate that they would learn how to juggle with scarves in addition to touring the Piedmont’s health, educational and political centers.

The lesson was a surprise ending to a typical American dinner hosted by Ann Salina, director of admissions and student services at the School of Nursing, and her family in their home in Cary, N.C. The visitors, who were greeted by Salina's son Dante who's learning Mandarin, enjoyed pizza, lively conversation and time to reflect on their first visit to the U.S.

“Before I came, I expected to gain a lot from this trip,” said Zhang Yun, a master’s student in public health at Wuhan University. “But now I must say I have gained much more than I thought. There are so many impressive fragments and stories. We had a windshield tour of Durham, we watched a baseball game to feel the U.S. passion about sports, we took part in Moral Mondays, we went to Urban Ministries to talk about the topic of homeless people and we were invited to professors’ homes to enjoy family dinners.”

The trip is part of the School’s ongoing relationship with Wuhan University to collaborate in the fields of nursing and global health and to promote the development of diverse and global perspectives in teaching, research and professional service. The Duke School of Nursing, Duke Global Health Institute and the School of Public Health at Wuhan University signed a three-year memorandum of understanding in 2011, which in established exchange programs for students and faculty at both institutions to experience, and be immersed in, another culture.

“It is so hard to figure out every little bit I learn,” continued Yun. “But I know the change inside. It is my first time to go abroad to feel another culture, another world, to observe how this social system operates and how the people live; the first time to encounter culture shock, to learn how to respect other culture; the first time to socialize with all kinds of people and to think about public health with a global vision.”

During their visit the students attended School of Nursing classes, participated in Center for Nursing Discovery simulations, visited Duke University Libraries and explored the campus on their own. They toured the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Policy, Duke Global Health Institute, Durham Urban Ministries and Lincoln Community Center to get a sense of the region’s health care issues, academic resources and research activities. They also attended Durham Bulls baseball games, shopped, sampled the local cuisine of barbeque and soul food and enjoyed informal dinners with faculty in their homes.

At the Salina household, the students were full of stories of where they went and what they did. They talked about the Moral Monday protests they witnessed at the state capital and exchanged information with the Salinas regarding customs and traditions in Chinese and American society. When asked to name the best thing they’ve eaten, Yongling Ye replied, “Chicken fried steak!” with a laugh.

After dinner Ann Salina gave the students a juggling lesson using three brightly colored scarves. The students laughed and encouraged each other and even a few managed to keep the scarves afloat and moving in the air.

This is the second year that students from Wuhan University have visited North Carolina. This trip and the one last year were both organized by the School of Nursing’s Office of Global and Community Health Initiatives. Likewise, a cohort of students from the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program at Duke visited Wuhan last year and another one will depart for Wuhan later this month before the Fall 2013 Semester begins.

About Duke University School of Nursing A diverse community of scholars and clinicians, Duke University School of Nursing is educating the next generation of transformational leaders in nursing. We advance nursing science in issues of global importance and foster the scholarly practice of nursing. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked Duke among the top seven graduate schools of nursing in the nation. Duke University School of Nursing is also one of the top ten recipients of National Institutes of Health awards among U.S. schools of nursing. The School offers masters, PhD and doctor of nursing practice degrees, as well as an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree to students who have previously graduated from college.

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