URI offers innovative Chinese program to motivated high school juniors

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Language class gives students entry to global marketplace

KINGSTON, R.I. — January 11, 2012 — As corporations and manufacturers expand their operations globally, the ability to speak the language of the world’s most populous nation is an increasingly valuable skill.

It’s also one most Rhode Island students aren’t able to learn until they graduate from high school. Only Barrington high school in Rhode Island offers Chinese as a language course.

The University of Rhode Island is changing that, giving high school juniors a chance to get a head start on learning Chinese with its first Rhode Island Institute of Asian Studies for High School Students, a three-credit course that will be offered at the University’s Providence campus.

The program is a comprehensive first-semester course focused on the Chinese language and Asian cultures. Participants in the program will have the potential to join the University’s Chinese Language Flagship Program if they choose to enroll after completing high school.

“The goal of the Flagship program is to graduate students with superior proficiency in the language so they can use it in any profession,” said Erin Papa, coordinator of the Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program.

The culture portion of the course will focus on China, but will also cover Japan and Korea, as well as other major Asian countries such as India and Pakistan, and other countries in Southeast Asia. The language class will focus on conversation, Pinyin, daily expressions, and a small number of characters.

At the end of the program, students will take a three-day trip to New York City to visit the Asia Society, the China Institute, and the Chinese American Museum. They also will visit Chinatown and see a Chinese art show or performance.

In addition, the Institute will provide opportunities for students to interact with URI Flagship students, such as a Chinese New Year celebration, a karaoke competition, cultural lectures and a film series. A trip to China may be planned if there is enough interest.

The University is seeking as many as 20 students with a drive and passion to face the challenge of learning a skill that is emerging as a key qualification to enter the global marketplace. Applicants should have a minimum 3.4 grade-point average and they should demonstrate a strong desire to explore and study Asian cultures and language.

Students can log on to uri.edu/chineseflagship/institute to download the application packet. They are asked to provide a personal statement about their reasons for applying and commitment to participating in the Institute.

The application deadline is Jan. 18.

Classes will run during the spring semester as a Chinese 101 course. It will be held Mondays 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. from Jan. 23 through April 30.

For more information, call Papa at (401) 874-5566 or log on to the website.