SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Wofford has been awarded a STARTALK grant for the seventh consecutive year based on the successes of the program between 2013 and 2018. STARTALK 2019, funded by $77,582 from the National Security Agency, begins on June 17, 2019.

The two-week program gives 45 middle and high school students from the Upstate South Carolina area the opportunity to learn Chinese language and culture. It is designed to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking and teaching critical-need foreign languages in the hopes that they will become global citizen with cross-cultural competence in order to succeed in the 21st century.

Morning sessions will be filled with language classes while the afternoons will consist of cultural activities. These cultural experiences will be held in small groups and will allow the students to explore interests in dance, drama, handcrafting, music and painting.

According to Dr. Yongfang Zhang, program director and associate professor of Chinese at Wofford, the program looks different than it did in 2013.

“We have better streamlined the whole curriculum to simulate a study abroad experience for campers,” says Zhang.

While the program primarily benefits local middle and high school students, recent Wofford graduate and STARTALK mentor Cassandra Patterson says STARTALK is also a great experience for her.

“As a recent Chinese program graduate, I am extremely excited to be able to come back to Wofford to share everything I love about Chinese language and culture with the program participants,” says Patterson. “Not only am I looking forward to teaching, I also still consider myself a student of Dr. Zhang and the amazing people she has brought together to make this camp possible.”

STARTALK, federally funded by the National Security Agency and administered by the National Foreign Language Center, provides language learning and professional development programs in the 11 critical-need languages. The program seeks to increase the number of teachers of and students enrolled in the study of critical-need language.

STARTALK students will present what they learned during the program at the final showcase from 2-4 p.m., on Friday, June 28, 2019, in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theater in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.