SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — Wofford College is taking its annual STARTALK summer Chinese program online this summer, which means students from outside of the Upstate also are invited to apply.

The college’s STARTALK Summer Chinese Virtual Program will accept 40 students who are rising sixth through 12th graders.

“We look forward to introducing students to the Chinese language and culture, which is an experience that many might not have access to through their schools,” said Dr. Yongfang Zhang, the program’s principal investigator and program director. “This summer program will give students a foundation to continue Chinese studies and prepare them to become global citizens with the cross-cultural competence needed to succeed in the 21st century.”

STARTALK applicants must be highly motivated students with access to a personal computer and a stable internet connection. Priority will be given to students demonstrating an understanding of the challenges specific to virtual language learning and an ability to succeed in that type of learning environment. The program also is looking for students committed to further developing language skills and cultural knowledge after participating in the STARTALK program.

Applicants must submit a one-page essay, provide an official transcript and a letter of recommendation. More details on the application process can be found at The deadline to apply is June 1. Completed applications will be reviewed and students will be admitted on a rolling basis.

Makenzie Cook, a Wofford sophomore from Greenville, South Carolina, majoring in Chinese and international affairs, participated in the college’s STARTALK program during the summer of 2018.

“Sadly, none of the schools I attended offered Chinese language classes or lessons, so when I spent the summer at STARTALK and learned a completely new language, it was a fun experience and I got to immerse myself into the Chinese culture as well,” Cook said. “The teachers were so helpful and were enthusiastic, especially when it came to the culture part of the class. It was slightly challenging because it’s fast paced, but that just made me want to work harder so I wouldn’t get left behind. I would recommend this program to other people because it allowed me to find new interests and it’s just a really fun way to learn a different language and meet new people.”

Wofford has been awarded STARTALK grants since 2013. The program is dedicated to increasing the number of Americans learning, speaking and teaching critical-need languages like Chinese.

Wofford College, established in 1854, is a four-year, residential liberal arts college located in Spartanburg, S.C. It offers 27 major fields of study to a student body of 1,764 undergraduates. Nationally known for its strong academic program, outstanding faculty, study abroad participation and successful graduates, Wofford is recognized consistently as a “best value college” and is among the New York Times’ “Top Colleges Doing the Most for the American Dream,” a ranking based on accessibility for low- and middle-income students. The college community enjoys Greek Life as well as 19 NCAA Division I athletics teams.