2013 CPS Chinese Summer Language, Culture and Technology Initiative (CSLCTI) completed with success

CSLCTI is a district wide full scholarship study abroad summer program. It is made possible by the generous support from Wanxiang America Cooperation, the largest Chinese company in Chicago. The four-week intensive Chinese immersion program at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic (WXP) is also part of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative. A total of 24 high school students of Chinese traveled to Hangzhou, China, in July.

These CPS high school students were selected via a competitive application process, representing Jones College Prep, Kenwood Academy, Lane Tech High School, Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Northside College Prep, Payton College Prep, Westinghouse College Prep and Whitney Young Magnet High School. They stayed on WXP campus in Hangzhou and took daily courses in Chinese and participated in educational excursions and cultural activities, including a visit to Xi’an.

The objectives of the program are to form part of a pipeline of CPS Chinese extracurricular programs to motivate students to study Chinese beyond the 2-year minimum World Language requirement to graduate from a CPS high school, to enhance students’ Chinese proficiency and knowledge of Chinese history and culture, and to build students’ awareness of environmental protection and clean energy science.

Here are some comments from the students:

“We all came here, clueless with nothing but Chinese in mind, but you filled us with joy during our stay.… Even though we came together as strangers, we have experienced things that have helped us bond and strengthen our relationship.”

“We learned a lot through passionate, elaborate classes and many hands-on activities.”

 “It was really interesting to learn the inner workings of the mechanically complex technology of wind power in which China has become a global leader. It was also fascinating to learn about solar power, a technology so powerful it can harness the rays of the sun. The solar power plant study visit helped us realize the potential of solar panels in urban environments and we’re glad to have had the opportunity to see it for ourselves.”

“We all think that martial arts is an important representative of China, but it wasn’t until we saw the discipline, patience, and knowledge needed to do martial arts and how seriously people take the art did we truly appreciate the (aspect of) Chinese culture through the teachings of Wu Shu.”

“Thank you for the tour of the Umbrella and Fan museums. From the origination hypotheses of Chinese umbrellas to the variety of materials used to make fans, we got to appreciate the beauty of both ancient and current Chinese culture.”

“Some classes were taught by masters and people with many years of experiences.”

“Not only have you (Wangxiang) helped us prepare for the challenges of AP Chinese next year, but you have also tremendously increased our knowledge of history and culture and clean energy through the multitude of field trips, seminars and workshops.”

“Even though the trip was only a month, there was never a moment where we did not feel immersed in Chinese culture.”

“Many of us have never eaten authentic Chinese food with a family before, and this opportunity (lunch with local hosting families) was both new and very welcomed by us.”

“When we return to America, we will use what we learned on this trip not only to succeed in Chinese class, but also to spread awareness of Chinese culture and the importance of green energy.”