Students studying outside the library

Wofford offers Chinese summer program for middle, high school students

College receives federal grant for fourth STARTALK program

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STARTALK @ Wofford students perform music, skits and other programs as part of the final showcase for the summer Chinese immersion program.
2016-04-20

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Upstate middle and high school students will have the opportunity to visit China this summer – without boarding a jetliner – by participating in Wofford College’s STARTALK @ Wofford two-week immersion experience.

For the fourth consecutive year, STARTALK @ Wofford has been awarded a federal STARTALK grant to offer a two-week immersion experience into Chinese. The free program is for 6th through 12th grade students in Spartanburg, Greenville and other nearby counties, and any student in that age-range who can provide their own transportation. Transportation will be provided to and from Greenville for students in that area.

The intensive program will take place from June 13 through June 24 on Wofford’s campus. A pre-program orientation will be held on June 11.

“STARTALK @ Wofford will give students access to a language and culture that they may not find at their home schools, says Dr. Yongfang Zhang, director of the program. “Wofford also hopes to encourage students to continue with their Chinese studies so that they will 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 for its students.”

After the two-week on-campus intensive program, STARTALK @ Wofford will continue offering eight additional online modules for students to cement the language skills gained during the summer program. The program also will offer continued learning sessions from September of this year through February 2017.

“By doing this, those of us at STARTALK @ Wofford hope to extend the learning process so that it will continue and last,” Zhang says.

“Each year, Wofford fields requests about Chinese language opportunities for high school students,” she continues, “and we would like to broaden the scope of Chinese language learners by inviting local high school students to Wofford. As an initial step, the STARTALK program will offer a scholarship incentive to reimburse textbook materials for campers who take Wofford Chinese courses.” Details about Chinese courses at Wofford can be found at www.wofford.edu/summerschool.

This year, the STARTALK team is composed of award-winning teachers, assistants from Chinese graduate programs around the U.S. and four previous campers returning as peer mentors. “Our strength also lies on the combination of both Chinese natives and Americans who are fluent in Chinese,” Zhang says.

While STARTALK @ Wofford is free, students must be passionate, motivated and have demonstrated academic excellence. The program will only accept 50 current 6th grade to graduating 12th grade students, and priority is given to students who plan to continue the study of Chinese and who can commit to taking advantage of all of the opportunities offered by the program.

Applications for the summer program are due by May 25. The online application is available at www.wofford.edu/startalk/. For more information, contact Dr. Yongfang Zhang at zhangy@wofford.edu.