Former staff members of the WSU-CI have gone on to do many impressive things. Below are some answers to "Where are they now?"

Yue Tang (Nikki) 2010-12

I am a news reporter for the Hubei Station of the China Meteorological Daily, a subsidiary of the Hubei Meteorological Bureau. For three consecutive years (2016-2018),  I have received awards for excellence in journalism.

Qian Zhang (Catherine) 2011-12

After one year at the WSU-CI, I went to Melbourne, Australia. I worked as a teaching assistant in a primary school there for about a year. I had a lot of great memories and wonderful experiences during my stay at WSU.  I am now an English teacher in Nanhai Middle School in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. I often share the experiences I had in America and Australia with my students, which can be a valuable teaching resource.  

Tian Xia (Lucia) 2011-2012

After leaving the Confucius Institute, I returned to my hometown and became a middle school teacher, working in Suzhou Foreign Language School in Jiangsu Province.I am happily married and have a two-year-old daughter.  I often miss my time in America, which was  full and happy. More people were able to learn Chinese and Chinese culture through me, which made it a meaningful job. Now I am still teaching international teachers to learn Chinese in my school. Although Chinese is very difficult, it is full of fun to my students.


Ting Liu  (Alice)  2012-13
I am currently living in Shanghai and working as an App Operation Manager at NIO, an electric vehicle company founded in 2014. After leaving the CI, I went back to Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and finished my master’s degree in applied linguistics. Then I worked as an operations specialist in Hangzhou at Alitrip, an online travel platform for the Alibaba Group. During my three years there, I traveled to the UK, Hawaii, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Bali, Hongkong, Yunnan, Huangshan, Changbaishan, Nanjing, and Chengdu. I got married on Dec. 31, 2018 to a Wayne State graduate and former HUSTer.
During my time at WSU, I gained a lot of practical experience in communicating and managing projects, which played a very important role in my first job at Alibaba. My English communication skills improved greatly and served as a big stepping stone for landing interviews at international companies. Last but not least, I made so many friends through the CI and learnt so much from them—especially to be curious about the world, keep an open heart and not to judge. They welcomed me with open arms and helped me while I was away from home and traveling abroad for the very first time. I am forever grateful.

Mengwen Zhu (Melinda) 2012-13

After one year at the WSU-CI, I received my MA in Teaching Chinese from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Afterward, I was admitted to the Chinese Assistant Teacher Program organized by the British Council and worked for Bradfield Academy in Chatham, England, near London. During my year of teaching, I focused on how to teach Chinese to students with  Special Education Needs and found effective methods for teaching autistic students. After leaving the UK, I shared the teaching methods I used by giving online courses. If you are  interested, you can check out my courses on the Chinese teaching club website.
I am no longer a Chinese teacher. For 3 1/2 years, I worked for the HNA Aviation Group, the fourth largest in China. Now I am an international air route business development manager and head of the International Route Development Office at Beijing Capital Airlines. I have traveled to almost every European country to inspect airports and airlines for commercial opportunities. My team and I launched the first direct flight from Beijing to Lisbon on 25th July, 2017 after two years of preparation. I participated in organizing a new flight launching ceremony, sponsored by the governments of China and Portugal. I feel so lucky to have meet the Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr.Antonio Costa, and Mr.Zhang Dejiang, a Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
To me,  my one year  at the WSU-CI was fruitful and unforgettable. I learned how to work in a cross-cultural environment and gained experience in project management. I gained great and cherished friendships, and had the best mentor. I feel so grateful to be a member of the WSU-CI family and hope to see everyone again! Cheers, Mates!



Shengxian Liu (Anita) 2013-14
I am overseeing alumni data management, while planning, coordinating and executing events for Development and Alumni Relations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I am married, have a daughter named Zoe, and earned a Master's degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University. Through planning and coordinating different events at the WSU-CI, I learned to be detail-oriented and to think three steps ahead about what I would be asked. I also improved my people skills through interacting with a wide variety of people and found myself more capable of multitasking as I learned to make plans, prioritize tasks, block out my time, and review my workload regularly.
What I valued most about the CI is the creative environment. A good thing about working under a creative and innovative boss is that my ideas would always be valued. When brainstorming the Learn a Chinese Phrase video series with Dr. Brender, I realized how far I could go outside of the box! At the same time, I broadened my horizons, and greatly expanded my knowledge of English idioms. In the end, I believe the best gift I received during my time at the CI is friendship. I am so glad to have these friends in my life, and I will not feel lonely when I am living away from home.



Nian Liu (Tracy) 2013-14

In 2017, I finished my studies at Eastern Michigan University and acquired my second Master of Arts degree. I then became a Chinese instructor at Schoolcraft College from 2017-2018. I met my husband, Kevin, at WSU and we married in 2016. We bought a house and currently live in Sterling Heights, Michigan. When I participated in and organized programs at the WSU-CI, I had opportunities to communicate with Chinese instructors, students, people interested in Chinese language and culture, and people from different cultural groups. These interactions gave me an opportunity to improve my English, my communication skills and knowledge of Chinese language education. I also made some lifelong friends during that year, and am happy to see them here in Michigan, in China and all over the world. It is awesome to build relationships and connections with people from different cultural groups. Finally, I would like to thank Prof. Brender and Prof. Li for providing me with unfailing support and continuous encouragement. The door to their offices were always open whenever I ran into a trouble spot or had a question about programs. The year at the CI was an amazing one and is still my most memorable year.


Yamei Wang (Joyce) 2013-14

After finishing one year of volunteer work at the WSU-CI, I earned my second master’s degree, studying linguistics at Wayne State University. I am currently a Ph.D. student in linguistics at George Mason University in Fairfax County, VA.
During my days at the WSU-CI, I experienced lots of unforgettable moments and obtained life-long, cherished friendships. I really appreciate all the help and encouragement I got in my first year in the States. I would like to extend my special thanks to Dr. Brender and Dr. Liang for providing me with this valuable opportunity to work with so many lovely people at the CI.

Yali Han (Haley) 2014-15

Right now I am an enterprise financial operations analyst working at, China’s largest online and overall retailer, as well as the country’s largest internet company by revenue. Four years ago, I was incredibly lucky to arrive in this dream land and to work with Dr. Brender, Prof.Liang, Shengxian Liu, Nian Liu, Yamei Wang, Mu Zhang and Jia Zhao. Not only did we step on the dazzling CI stage together, but also lived a wonderful life together. The Confucius Institute provided us a stage on which to shine and reach out to thousands of students interested in Chinese language and culture.The WSU Confucius Institute was, is, and will always be my ideal self-developing palace.


Jia Zhao (Parker) 2014-15

After leaving the CI, I went back to HUST to complete my MA . I felt honored and privileged to give a talk on TED X HUST to talk about my time in the US. At that time, I realized that I had visited 15 American states, but had seen less than a quarter of China. Now, I enjoy traveling for work, touring almost all of China. I am currently serving as a leasing manager, dealing with resources, land, and commercial real estate in the eastern region of China. I spend at least half of each month traveling and am overseeing nine shopping malls with 15 more still under construction. One year at the WSU-CI left me believing that if I can survive that, nothing is impossible! I learnt from the CI and I grew from the CI.  More than a powerful team, it's also an excellent  family. The days with Dr.Brender, Prof.Liang Dean, Jomama, Yeye and Nainai are unforgettable. Thanks for the wonderful year and I will always miss and support my dear family members.

Mu Zhang (Sherry) 2014-15

I am a Ph.D. student in Higher Education Administration and Policy in the College of Education at the University of Florida. My CI experience is a treasure in my life.  During that time, I made lots of friends, and gained working experience and knowledge. My experience at the WSU-CI also brought me many academic benefits. For instance, my Master's degree thesis was about the effects of overseas experience on college student development. For this research, I took the CI program as an example and used volunteer Chinese teachers as research subjects. In addition, when applying for the Ph.D. program, my CI internship experience and letters of recommendation from our director and vice director all contributed to my success. I really appreciate the one year I spent at the CI at WSU.

Jiawei Dong (Jessica) 2015-16

After finishing my year at the WSU-CI in 2016, I worked as a Chinese teacher for international students at Huazhong University of Science and Technolocy while finishing my MA in Applied Linguistics.  Before graduating, I was granted a 2016 Leadership Scholarship by the Committee of 100, for my contributions to Sino-US cultural exchanges. In 2017, I became a marketing analyst for China Mobile, a Fortune Global 500 company. I found coding and data analysis rather challenge at the beginning, because my background had been in language teaching. However, thanks to my CI experience, I adapted quickly and successfully to my work and was granted the title of “Best New Employee of 2018”. In 2018, I also married Yixin Chen, whom I met at Wayne State University, where he was a graduate student in engineering. Though I only spent one year at the WSU-CI, the practical experience, and open and wise mind I learned from Dr. Brender, Prof. Liang, American friends and Chinese researchers, helped me a lot in my life now. What’s more, the friendship with these people and the strong connection with the WSU-CI became a lifelong treasure for me.


Haiting  Panou (Vanessa) 2015-16

I am now a housewife, living outside of Paris and my job title is “Jeremy Panou’s Mom” or "la mère de Jeremy Panou". I work or am on standby 24 hours a day and am paid with cute smiles with random kisses as a bonus. As for other accomplishments, I recently earned a wine tasting certificate, which is indispensable for living in France! My assistantship at the WSU-CI was my first official job. Primarily I learned to BE CONSCIENTIOUS AND DILIGENT at my work, even if it’s just small or temporary work.  Never be "chabudou" or "meiguanxi"; this mindset will destroy you and your team! As for team work, always trust your partners, and always be nice to them!



Lingyi Liu (Lily) 2016-17

I'm a postgraduate student in Global Journalism at the University of Sheffield in the UK. The different environment in Britain sometimes makes me recall the wonderful time I had in America. The job at the CI was an experience I had never expected. On the plane to America in 2016 I was extremely nervous and anxious since I have neither worked before nor left for a new country for so long. Fortunately, with the strongly support of our CI famiy, I had a great time and learned plenty of skills from this work. The most precious lesson that I learned was the capability of self-learning. Prof. Brender will only tell us what we need to accomplish but he will not tell us how to achieve the target. Therefore I had to make every effort to solve problems and find a way to reach each goal. Every time I developed some new skills. During that year, I learned Photoshop, website editing, making  flyers and even learned how to row a dragon boat! I never knew I could learn so many skills in my life in such a short time! Moreover, the people I met there will be a treasure for my whole life. Prof. Brender is like a life tutor. Every time after chatting with him I could learn some new things. Prof. Fan is more like a mom; she took care of us and worried about our safety. There were also some local friends I met at the CI who will never say no when I turn to them for help. During the year at the CI, I received lots of love and gained enough confidence to help me go further in the future.


Fan Chen (Julie) 2016-17
I am teaching undergraduate and international students at Wuchang University of Technology.I developed many skills working at the WSU-CI such as team cooperation, problem solving, and the courage to take on different challenges. Additionally, I have a better understanding about real American life and culture, which broadened my horizons tremendously and helped me figure out my life’s goals. Moreover, I appreciated the nice people that supported me all the time, which gave me a deep feeling of luck and warmth to have them in my life. My time at the CI was really great and unforgettable. I am definitely a lucky dog!



Deling Yang (Darlene) 2017-18

After finishing my job at the WSU-CI,  I came back to China and earned  my Master's degree in linguistics and applied linguistics at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. After that, I became a Chinese language teaching assistant at Carisbrooke College on the Isle of Wight in the UK. I now teach students ranging from year 8 to year 10.  I also coach year 11 students for their Chinese GCSE. I am further developing my teaching skills here, and am quite happy on this isolated and peaceful island.

Looking  back on the days I worked at the WSU Confucius Institute, I realize that I gained  a lot of valuable experience. The CI always provided us with a very creative and diversified environment, which inspired me to go beyond my potential. Through organizing many Chinese culture-related activities, I not only learned project management, but how to work on a team. Additionally, lots of amazing people I met there expanded my horizons, which motivated me tremendously. I will treasure all of these good memories in my heart forever and they will give me the energy to fight for a bright future. I really miss the CI a lot and am thankful for all I learned there.


Luhan Ran (Amy) 2017-18

I am a Mandarin teacher at Kingsford Community School (KCS), in London, England. Founded in 2000, KCS is a British five-year compulsory education public school with a specialty in language. The main foreign languages ​​are Chinese, French and Spanish. I am teaching Year 7 and Year 8 students in my school. During my 13-month internship at the WSU-CI, we organized plenty of activities with the help of many friends and teachers. Regardless of the success or failure of each event, our director and vice director always encouraged us to gain personal experience throughout the planning and execution stages. I am very grateful for the experience I had. I made many friends and developed many skills. If there is a chance, I still hope to return to this big family!


Huilin-Chen (Kay) 2017-18

I am an HR intern at Tianma Microelectronics in Wuhan, China. Despite the fact that I suffered from temporary seasonal depression, my stay in the US was very rewarding. I was lucky enough to make many good friends with whom I went mini-golfing, trekking, sailing, rock climbing and with whom I shared an occasional pint.
When it came to work, I am proud to say that my colleagues--through their diligent efforts-- saved me from working too hard. Every day we spent eight hours together in the office and another sixteen sharing a flat. We are still on friendly terms and I am grateful that none of them tried to strangle me in my sleep—or at least none that I am aware of.
As a language major, I understand that learning a new language is no easy task—and it is even harder when that language is Chinese! Nevertheless, Chinese learners at the CI impressed me with their efforts and showed me that it was never too late to pick up a new language.
Now I am working as an intern at a big company in China and I don’t think I could have gained this opportunity without my experience working and living in the US. After all, I conquered my winter depression there and learned to appreciate all my friends--and their help.  I remain forever indebted to them.


 Ze Chen (Zack) 2018

I'm still a graduate student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), focusing on my master's degree thesis in Material Processing. 2019 will be my final year as a student and I hope I can make the most of it!
2018 was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me! Never had I thought that I would have the chance to live for a whole year in a foreign country, especially in the U.S. (whose name is aptly translated into Chinese as "beautiful country")! As the only WSU-CI graduate assistant with an engineering background since its inception, I was expected to fix all the technical problems, which I enjoyed a lot :) My mission here was to offer Chinese language and culture to anyone in the community who was interested. I did my job, and at the same time, I gained even more than I gave away. The WSU-CI is like a family.  Laoban and Fan Laoshi provided us with a lot of caring and help. I enjoyed cooperating with my fellow workmates, making friends with people from different cultural backgrounds and experiencing things that seemed to exist only in news reports or in one's imagination! I will always cherish these memories, and hope to see all the CI'ers again!


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