SF State Opens New Chinese Language Center
Grand opening of Confucius Center set for Feb. 11
January 31, 2006 5:40 PM
SF State will soon be host to a branch of an international Chinese language center, the first of its kind on the west coast.
The non-profit Institute, which is meant to supplement SF State's current Chinese language program, will help expand existing classes and will be available to anyone who wants to learn without receiving college credit. The grand opening will be held on Feb. 11. Fees have not yet been determined.
SF State's director of international programs, Yenbo Wu, has been working with the Chinese government since 2004 to guarantee SF State's campus for the Institute.
"I think in the long run, this is helping us, the university and the students… it will provide more cultural understanding for everyone."
The Institute's opening reflects the interest China is generating. According to a report by the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages, the number of people studying Chinese increased 20 percent from 1998 to 2002. This may be an indication of China’s growing influence in the world.
"Everywhere one goes, there is a rising interest in China,” said Professor Jean-Marc Blanchard, who teaches a class at SF State on Chinese Foreign Policy. “In San Francisco, we see this in the enrollments in SFSU courses relating to China, in programs offered by the World Affairs Council and the Commonwealth Club, and in coverage in the media.”
At Chinatown's Chinese Cultural Center, the popular Mandarin classes are on a first come, first serve basis. Over the last two to three years Xiaomei Li, the center’s program manager, has seen a “dramatic increase” in the amount of students who want to learn the language. She said there are many different reasons for the interest.
“Some for business purposes and some are more concerned about cultural aspects,” she said, noting that the students at the center come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. “Some want to adopt kids from China… all kinds of relationships between (China and the United States) have been developing.”
Lin Lin, who has been the center's Chinese teacher for several years, emphasizes that the course is not just about teaching the language, but Chinese culture as well.
"For example," Lin said, "Today we will be talking about Chinese New Year and what it means and what preparations we do."
President George W. Bush, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Gavin Newsom have all made recent political visits to China. And last spring, a bill introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lamar Alexander set aside $1.3 billion over a five-year period to finance Chinese language education in schools and further develop the economic and cultural relationships with China.
“This interest is only likely to intensify further as China's political, military, and economic clout increase,” said Blanchard. “Like Japan in the 1980s, China is using its newfound clout to support this increase. The Confucian Institute is a reflection of this."
The administering of the Confucius Institute will be a team effort between three SF State colleges. The College of Education is in charge of training instructors and creating curricula. The College of Humanities will present courses to enrolled SF State students while the College of Extended Learning will offer classes to non-diploma students.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University