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Chinese summer program for pre-college students offered

Wofford receives federal grant for second STARTALK program
 
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Among the cultural activities available through STARTALK @ Wofford is Tai-Chi.
2014-03-20

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Spending part of your summer at Wofford College can get you all the way to China, without having to take the 24-hour flight there!

  For the second year, STARTALK @ Wofford is offering a two-week immersion experience into Chinese, free, for 8th- through 12th-grade students in Spartanburg, Greenville and other nearby counties.

Last summer, the college was awarded a grant for STARTALK @ Wofford, a program dedicated to increasing “the number of Americans learning, speaking and teaching critical need foreign languages.” Based on the success of the 2013 program, Wofford applied for and was again awarded the federal grant for the program.

Dr. Yongfang Zhang, director of the program, says she hopes to make this summer’s program even better than last year’s. Instead of a three-week session as was held in 2013, STARTALK @ Wofford will offer a two-week on-campus intensive program with eight additional online modules being offered throughout the rest of the summer. “In doing this, STARTALK @ Wofford hopes to extend the learning process so that it will continue and last,” Zhang says. “Additionally, there are plans to offer 10 weekend workshops this fall to cement the knowledge gained during the summer program.”

During the on-campus portion, students will be enrolled in intensive language classes in the morning with afternoon cultural experiences and tutorial hours, Zhang says. “Cultural experiences will be held in small groups so that students can individualize their experience,” she adds. “The small groups will enable students to choose the cultural activity in which they are most interested, while allowing them focused collaboration with their instructor as well as their peers. Choices will include Tai-Chi, music, drama, cuisine, tea, and handcrafts. Tutorial hours will provide the students with a chance to ask any questions regarding their morning language class as well as additional practice with their new language skills.”

Transportation will be provided to and from Greenville.

STARTALK @ Wofford hopes to give students access to language and culture that they might not find at their home school,” Zhang says. “Wofford also hopes to encourage students to continue with their Chinese studies so they would become global citizens with cross-cultural competence who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century, a desire that coincides with Wofford’s own mission.”

While STARTALK @ Wofford is free, students must be passionate, motivated and have demonstrated academic excellence. “As we will only be accepting 40 students, priority is given to students who plan to continue the study of Chinese and who are committed to completing the majority of the program,” Zhang says.

The two-week intensive program will take place from June 9 to June 20. Pre-program orientation will be held on June 7. The 10 weekend workshops in the fall of 2014 will end before Thanksgiving; specific dates and locations will be announced during the summer intensive program.

Applications for the summer program are due by May 15. The online application is available at www.wofford.edu/startalk/. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning on April 1. For more information, contact Dr. Yongfang Zhang at zhangy@wofford.edu.