BOONE, N.C. — Thanks to a grant from STARTALK, a project funded by the National Security Agency and administered by the National Foreign Language Center, 15 High Country high school students with limited or no previous exposure to Chinese language and culture participated in a three-week Chinese immersion program at Appalachian State University.
The culturally rich and academically rigorous program was held from July 9–27 on Appalachian’s campus.
Dr. Xiaofei Tu, lecturer in Appalachian’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, was awarded $89,724 in support from STARTALK to host the program at Appalachian. Tu collaborated on the project with Dr. Wendy Xie, associate professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
Each day the students received five-hour formal classroom instruction and participated in several Chinese cultural activities, such as martial arts/Taiji, calligraphy, painting, Chinese chess games, Chinese singing and dancing, cooking, film viewing, paper cutting/crafts, etc.
“The highly structured program focused on the theme ‘The High Country Meets the Middle Kingdom,’” Tu said. “Taking a virtual journey to China, where Mandarin Chinese is spoken, the students learned the language skills to perform basic functions and tasks in real-life scenarios.”
He said the students also gained an in-depth understanding of Chinese culture, customs and etiquette.
“Through the program, the students were able to see the value and fun of learning Chinese language and culture in and beyond a structured classroom setting. Most of them expressed (a) desire to continue learning Chinese after the program,” Tu said.
About the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers courses that enhance students’ understanding of other cultures and languages as well as their own, making them prepared for lifelong learning in a multicultural world. Learn more at https://dllc.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.