Dr. Hill and students

Wofford to offer Chinese study to pre-college students

College receives federal grant for STARTALK @ Wofford summer program

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Chinese New Year is celebrated on Wofford's campus each year.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When visitors come to the Wofford College campus this summer, they may feel they’ve been transported to a whole new world where different languages are spoken and different cultures are experienced.

Chinese is the newest language to be offered to pre-college students in a summer immersion setting at Wofford, thanks to a $76,000 grant from the National Security Language Initiative’s STARTALK, a component designed to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not now widely taught in the United States. 

STARTALK @ Wofford will offer, free of charge, a three-week program of intensive beginning Chinese language and culture courses for 45 rising 9th graders through just graduated 12th graders from Spartanburg and Greenville counties. The day program will run from June 17 through July 5 on Wofford’s campus. 

The Wofford program, called “Say You & Say Me in a Whole New World of Chinese,” could be the beginning of a life-long journey for its young students, says Dr. Yongfang Zhang, assistant professor of Chinese Studies and director of STARTALK @ Wofford. “With the STARTALK federal funding, the program could provide a magic carpet ride – much like in the story of Aladdin – taking students to a whole new world of Chinese language and culture and a new fantastic point of view, and building their capability to talk about themselves and others in Chinese,” she says. 

STARTALK @ Wofford will run parallel to the Language Academy @ Wofford, a summer language immersion program that offers French, Spanish and German to pre-college students. (www.wofford.edu/languageacademy/)

The Chinese program will provide not only language instruction, but will give students hands-on cultural experiences, such as Chinese cuisine, tea, Tai Chi, music and crafts. Post-program refresher workshops will be offered, and the program will advise participants during their future learning journey, with information about available scholarships and learning resources.

STARTALK @ Wofford builds on the college’s commitment to creating global citizens with cross-cultural competence who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century and Wofford’s own Chinese Language and Cultural program for its students. The college offers a major in Chinese and minor in Chinese Studies. Students in this program recently won “Palmetto Chinese Star,” “Future Palmetto Chinese Star” and other recognitions in the fourth annual Palmetto Chinese Star Contest.

While STARTALK @ Wofford is free, students must be energetic, motivated and have demonstrated academic excellence. Priority will be given to students who plan to continue learning Chinese language and culture and who attend pre-program orientation.

Transportation will be provided to and from Greenville.

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2013. For information on how to apply, go to www.wofford.edu/startalk/