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Celebrating 11 Years of Successful CPS Student Chinese Study Abroad Program

On July 20, 2017, another 24 CPS high school students successfully completed the CPS Student Study Abroad program in China and came back to Chicago. By then, funding received for this extracurricular program totaled over 2.5 million dollars and 283 students benefited from the program.

In order to prevent language loss or attrition during summer time and help to motivate students to continue their advanced Chinese language studies, a pipeline for Chinese language learning in and out of school was implemented in 2007 and the study abroad program is a part of it. CIC (Confucius Institute in Chicago) and CPS have provided this study abroad program in China for CPS high school students of Chinese for 11 consecutive years since 2007. It is a full-scholarship program, with funding received from the U.S. federal government, American and Chinese businesses and organizations. In the past six years, the program was funded by Wanxiang America Corporation in Chicago and Wanxiang Group in China.

In this four-week intensive language immersion program, students not only learn Chinese language skills, but also participate in many cultural seminars, workshops and excursions, learning Chinese culture, history and philosophy.  In addition to Chinese language and culture, students also have an opportunity to gain some knowledge of clean energy.  They have seminars on China’s plan and recent development in clean energy, technology and application of natural gas, solar energy, electric vehicle and visit clean energy facilities.

Program alumni experience great success in other endeavors. Some have gone on to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y); some have been admitted into world-class universities; some have received a Gates Millennium Scholarship. One program participant received the Presidential Scholars Award in 2016. Most program participants continue to take Chinese as either a minor or major in college.

The program has helped students get college and career ready and has sparked within students a lifetime interest in China study and cross-cultural understanding. Below is a selection of statements from the program alumni:

  • “Wellesley College’s average GPA and ACT are much higher than my own, and I believe the swaying factor in my acceptance was my participation in both CSLI and STARTALK.” – Eve
  • “I am incredibly grateful that I was able to sit through the seminars on solar energy, electric vehicles, and geothermal energy. I have a wide range of interests which made it difficult for me to narrow a topic down as a college major, but after learning about green energy in this way and getting to see it first hand, I feel as if it’s something I want to pursue further, and something I will be able to make an impact by doing.” – Andrew
  • “CSLI 2008 was (and still remains) a strong impetus for my academic and personal interest in China and the rest of East Asia. It has also led me toward a possible career in the foreign service.” – Julius
  • My time in China has been a very fun and also a very educational trip. I have grown as a person and also improved my Chinese language skills. I honestly believe that the things I have learned about myself on this trip will stick with me throughout my entire life and shape my future.” - Kyra