The University of Utah’s Confucius Institute is now taking registrations for its summer abroad program. The Summer Scholars Study Abroad (June 5th-July 4th, 2014) is open to High School Students (9th-12th grade) who will have completed at least 2 years of Chinese by the time of the trip.
Participants will fly in to Beijing and spend the first two weeks studying either at Beijing No. 4 High School (a highly prestigious High School) or Nankai University in Tianjin, then spend two more weeks at Sichuan University in Chengdu. Students will participate in intensive Chinese study Monday through Friday, with recreational/educational excursions on the weekends.
The trip is estimated to cost $3700 (not including food; with the current exchange ratio 1:0.16). Scholarships are available for students at the Annual BYU Language Fair in April. The Confucius Institute is applying for a grant funding in January to subsidize student costs. There will also be service opportunities in the summer working as teacher aides for elementary Chinese language summer camps for those who choose to participate, which will also offset costs. The institute also encourages students to work with their school community or Chinese class for fundraising; for example, a Chinese New Year activity with charged admission.
Spots are limited to 15 students, and will be granted on a first come first serve basis to qualified students. Students will also need to provide a teacher recommendation from their current Chinese teacher.
China’s major TV network CCTV is joining forces for the first time with Sesame Street’s Muppets who, according to the Mandarin Immersion Parent Council, have long produced Mandarin version of their shows, available on YouTube.
“The one-hour special series, entitled Happy New Year, is airing every night this week with various themes designed to encourage kids to learn more about the Chinese Spring Festival. During the special, there is a segment called Chinese New Year, where Elmo, Cookie Monster and Lily chat with CCTV hosts about special traditions and customs. The Chinese New Year segments will be re-broadcast from January 31-February 6 on CCTV Children’s Channel.
The 10 segments feature CCTV children’s hosts Ju Ping, Dong Hao, Jin Guizi, Huang Wei, Xiao Lu, Red Apple and Green Bubble, Mr. Sesame, Sister Moon, Du Yue and Zhou Zhou. The themes include monster year, bid farewell to the old and usher in the new, dinner on the eve of New Year, the Year of the Horse, lion dance and Lantern Festival.”
Utah is not a big destination for Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants – at least, not on the scale of coastal cities like San Francisco or New York.
Exposing our children to different cultures – one of the reasons many parents enroll their children in language immersion programs – takes a little extra effort and creativity.
Culture is embedded in our language, which is why it’s an important supplement to language education. It enriches the learning experience and gives language learners greater depth of knowledge. Someone can describe a tree to you, but until you touch one, drink in its scent or stand beneath the cool shade of its leaves, how well do you know a tree?
It is with this understanding that parents and teachers at Ridgecrest Elementary in Cottonwood Heights, UT arranged two Chinese New Year celebrations: a musical performance put on by the students and a school-wide assembly featuring a professional lion dance.
The lion dance was sponsored by the Chinese Society of Utah. Parents and teachers donated money and time to make costumes and treats. Students spent countless hours rehearsing their songs. It was a wonderful example of a community coming together to support its children and advance education.