High school students learn Chinese language, culture

June 23, 2010

STARTALK, a Chinese language and culture camp, kicked off June 13 when close to 45 students descended upon ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, to start their summer Chinese language and cultural studies.

High school students from across Arizona checked in on Sunday and started their 15-day adventure that will involve learning one of the most challenging languages for Americans to learn. They will learn how to write calligraphy using a specialized brush, tie Chinese knots and wrap Chinese dumplings, among other activities. Students are divided into three classes: students who have never learned Chinese, students who learned Chinese for one to two years and intermediate-level students. Download Full Image

The camp paired Chinese heritage learners, who are Chinese American high school students, with non-heritage students so both groups will benefit from the experience. For example, Emma McMahon, a Salpointe High student from Tucson, and Vivien Yang, a Mesquite High student from Gilbert, will be roommates who will be helping each other out during the camp.

McMahon said she plans to major in international relations in college. She also cited the importance of Arabic and Chinese globally as a reason that drew her to apply for the camp. She has been taking Spanish at her high school as well.

“It’s going to be fun,” she said, although she noted that “learning a new language is hard.”

Yang, who moved to the United States from China when she was 4, speaks Mandarin at home and attends a local Chinese school. She said she wants to improve her reading and writing skills. Yang said she has also started to learn some Korean.

“I want to be able to read a book in Chinese,” she said.

Mary Reed and Tom McMahon, McMahon’s parents, drove to Phoenix on Sunday to drop her off at ASU. Mary Reed said she hopes that McMahon can continue her Chinese studies at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center once the camp is over.

“This is the closest to immersion we can get in Arizona,” Mary Reed said of Startalk.

Besides learning Chinese during the day, students also have bilingual resident advisers in the dorm who can help them with their Chinese homework during the evenings.

A federal Startalk grant sponsored these high school students. Both ASU’s Confucius Institute and the Chinese Language Flagship are supporters of Startalk. This is the second year ASU has facilitated the camp where 45 students were selected out of 90 applicants. The camp’s goals are to promote the learning of the Chinese language and culture and to have students in Arizona start learning Chinese at an earlier age and become part of the pipeline to the Collegiate Scholars and the Chinese Language Flagship programs (School of International Letters and Cultures) at ASU.

Ultimately, graduates of the Flagship program will be able to use their Chinese skills professionally.

Carter Pote, 16, a Corona del Sol High School student from Tempe, is learning Chinese for another purpose. Pote is one-quarter Chinese and would like to learn more about his heritage language.

“He thought it would be a good experience to learn about the language and culture," said Dan Pote, his father.
"He doesn’t know that much about it except 'gong hay fat choy' (a common Chinese New Year’s greeting in Cantonese).”

Irene Hsiao
(480) 727-0879
ASU Chinese Language Flagship Program

Undergrad business degree completion offered online

June 23, 2010

Many college students aren’t able to complete their degrees, due to circumstances like the economy, family crises or other pressing issues. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is introducing a new program aimed at making it as convenient as possible for these students to finish their education by offering its first-ever undergraduate business degree online.

“We understand that sometimes you can’t finish your college education because of circumstances beyond your control,” said Kay Faris, undergraduate dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “That’s why we’re making one of our most popular degrees available online to students who have already completed 60 credit hours at any accredited college. This is a flexible way for people to get an internationally regarded degree in business.” Download Full Image

The new program offers the school’s Bachelor of Arts degree in business with a concentration in communication. It combines a traditional, high-caliber business curriculum with courses that will help the students utilize communications in the business world. Classes are taught by many of the same top-notch faculty who teach the school’s face-to-face courses.

“While anyone with 60 credit hours can apply for this program, we really hope this will make a W. P. Carey degree more accessible to people trying to juggle work, family and other challenges,” said W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “The key is convenience, combined with access to our world-class faculty and resources.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business already offers a very successful online MBA program, which is so flexible that an NFL football player was able to participate while attending training camp with a pro team. School officials hope to offer undergraduate students the same type of convenience through the new program.

Applications are already being accepted for the fall 2010 semester. For more information, go to http://asuonline.asu.edu.">http://asuonline.asu.edu">http://asuonline.asu.edu.