Learn English and more – the “English Corner”
During her lunch break, Wen Xie stands at the stove and cooks alongside 15 of her colleagues from China and around the world. This time it’s traditional Chinese dumplings. This group meets regularly, though always in a different setting, for the purpose of cooking, talking, or just spending time together, all while improving their English. That’s the concept behind the “English Corner”, which has been in existence for over a decade. Since 2011, meetings of the “English Corner” have been organized through the BSH China Training Center.
A shared break that crosses cultural boundaries
“Many Chinese colleagues have an excellent grasp of written English but are often uncomfortable in conversation. At the ‘English Corner’ they’re more relaxed and are surrounded by kindred spirits,” explains Lan Xu, a human resources specialist in China. “Here, participants from different countries and departments have a chance to meet new people and learn about cultural characteristics.”
Our colleague Wen Xie loves the idea of the “English Corner”: “I can improve my English along with like-minded people, exchange ideas and experiences, and at the same time we can all get to know one another better. Not only that – it is fun!”
A variety of topics
Each get-together is hosted by one of an array of colleagues who is invited by the organizer and responsible for discussing the topic with the organizer. Then, the organizer will invite others to the “English Corner”. “The discussion groups focus on a variety of topics: How is Christmas celebrated in Germany? Or what is special about the Chinese New Year celebration? We also talk about personal goals and current events – but always in English. Another way to promote relaxed conversation is to play party games,” says Lan Xu.
The third version of the “English Corner” is cooking together. In this case, colleagues bring recipes for local specialities. The result is a culinary world tour that might include traditional Chinese dumplings, pizza or pasta from Italy, or German home cooking.
Last year, these colleagues ventured to make German Christmas biscuits with individual decorations and icing.
Expanding horizons: cooking and culture“It’s especially fun to cook with people from different countries,” says Wen Xie. “Many colleagues feel that they don’t have enough opportunities to speak English or that their English isn’t good enough. My only advice to them is ‘English Corner’ – it’s worth it!”
Recipe for Making Dumplings
Ingredients: minced meat, Chinese chives, mushrooms, fungus, shrimp, scallions, ginger, eggs, flour, peanut oil, light soy sauce, salt.
1.Soak shrimp, mushrooms and fungus for one to two hours in water beforehand.
Mix minced meat with chopped scallions and ginger, add a little light soy sauce and salt and then add one egg white. Chop shrimp, mushrooms and fungus into pieces.
2. Stir-fry three or four pieces of ginger in peanut oil. Then fill a bowl with peanut oil and pick out the ginger for later usage.
3. Clean Chinese chives and chop into pieces.
4. Mix minced chives, shrimp, scallions, and ginger together, and then add the cooled peanut oil. Finally mix all these with the minced meat and add a little salt. Set aside for later usage. The meat filling for the dumplings is finished.
5. Mix flour and water to make a dough.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
Knead the dough until it is very smooth on the surface.
Use a rolling pin to make dumpling wrappers.
Fill the wrappers with dumpling filling (Step 7)
6. Boil water. Once it is boiling, add the dumplings and stir with spatula,
When it’s done, enjoy!
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