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UTPA launches first Chinese Language and Culture Summer Institute for Concurrent Enrollment students
Contact: Lori Ann Prado, Intern 956/381-2741
Posted: 05/30/2008
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The University of Texas-Pan American's Integrated Global Knowledge and Understanding Collaboration (IGkNU), the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and South Texas Independent School District are co-sponsoring the first Mandarin Chinese language and culture courses for Concurrent Enrollment students.

The four-week intensive summer camp runs July 21-Aug. 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Students will earn six hours of University language credit during the institute, which will consist of two courses - beginners Mandarin Chinese and Chinese Culture and Literature - at a cost of $300. The enrollment deadline is June 15 on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Students will need to have both the capacity to learn a new language while keeping up with the pace of college-level instruction," said Nick Weimer, manager of IGkNU.

Twenty students from the South Texas Independent School District will be selected to pioneer the program. Current sophomores and juniors in high school ranked in the top 25 percent of their class, and who qualify for the Concurrent Enrollment Program are encouraged to submit two teacher recommendations with their application. Students may apply directly with the Concurrent Enrollment office located at the UTPA Annex at 2412 S. Closner Blvd. in Edinburg.

The Chinese Culture and Literature course will familiarize students with traditions, art, literature and history of a society. Students are expected to read Chinese materials such as fiction, classic books and general reference documents and discuss them between their peers and educators. Beginners Mandarin Chinese will introduce students to the writing system and basic language, while training to function successfully in the culture. Evaluation will be based on daily performance. Chinese character writing and painting, among other various activities, will also be included in the program.

"Through these programs, we are trying to establish a diverse and well-prepared cadre of employees with critical skills, critical language proficiency and cultural knowledge," Weimer said.

Weimer believes that China is becoming a dominant force in the global market, and relations between the United States and Mexico with China have grown vastly in the past decade. He said understanding their language and culture will become increasingly necessary for leadership in the global economy.

"This summer program will prepare students with the ability to thrive internationally to become leaders in the government, corporations and public sectors," Weimer said.

Weimer stated that The National Virtual Translation Center reports that students who begin learning a foreign language in college rarely achieve high levels of proficiency unless they have an intensive summer school and/or study abroad experience. IGkNU has prepared both programs for UTPA students and intensive summer school programs for Valley high school students.

"About 900 million people in the world speak Mandarin Chinese compared to roughly 350 million that speak English and 300 million that speak Spanish. As one can imagine, employers in the U.S. are in dire need of employees that speak Mandarin," said Weimer.

For more information regarding the Chinese Language and Culture Summer Institute, contact Weimer at 956/318-5342.