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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 19, 2010

UI to offer summer Chinese classes for junior, senior high students

The University of Iowa has received a grant of nearly $100,000 to offer a summer intensive Chinese program for Iowa high school and junior high students.

The program is supported by STARTALK, a National Security Language Initiative launched by the White House in 2006 to promote the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the United States.

The UI Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the UI Confucius Institute in International Programs will jointly offer the courses in July 2010.

Organizers say China -- with the world's largest population and a rapidly growing middle class -- stands to become the engine of the global economy in coming years.

"Learning Chinese will be vitally important for people working in business or government agencies, and for those who wish to visit China. Currently only 2.6 percent of Iowa's public and private high schools offer Chinese courses," said Associate Professor Helen Shen, coordinator of the UI Chinese Program and director of the STARTALK summer institute. "We're grateful for the opportunity to introduce Iowa students to the language, culture, customs and history of China."

Along with language lessons, programs will include hands-on activities such as culture workshops, performances, visits with local Chinese families and virtual tours of China.

Twenty-five high school students will be admitted to the for-credit Intensive Beginning Chinese course. Students will earn three UI credits. High school students who wish to earn dual credits should contact the post-secondary enrollment options program at their schools. The four-week course runs July 6-31, including some weekend activities. The grant will cover $550 (about 70 percent of tuition) for each student. Details for scholarship applications will be posted at http://www.uiowa.edu/~chinese/. Registration will begin in April at http://isis.uiowa.edu. The course is offered by the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures through the Division of Continuing Education.

Twenty junior high students will be admitted to the non-credit intensive Chinese language camp. The two-week residential program (including one weekend) runs July 4-16. The grant will cover $1,000 (about half of tuition) per student. Application details are available at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/old/summer/programs/6-8/flsi/. The camp is offered by the UI Confucius Institute through the UI College of Education's Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070, nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu