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MPH gets language study grant

March 21, 2011

For the second year in a row, Manlius Pebble Hill School has been awarded a $60,000 federal grant to fund students’ participation in a Mandarin Chinese language and cultural immersion program in China.

The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Awarded in cooperation with the American Councils for International Education, it will fund full scholarships for eight MPH students to study abroad for six weeks this summer. It will also fund expenses for MPH language teacher Wei Gao to accompany the students.

The grant is part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth – a presidential initiative to increase the ability of U.S. citizens to engage with people throughout the world who speak Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Turkish. NSLI-Y seeks “to develop a cadre of Americans with advanced linguistic skills and related cultural understanding who are able to advance international dialogue, promote the security of the United States, [and] compete effectively in the global economy.”

Last summer, a state department-funded grant, also for $60,000, allowed Gao to take nine MPH students to Beijing and Qinhuangdao for the NSLI-Y language program, which provides authentic interactions and cultural activities that develop both cultural understanding and language proficiency.

MPH students are now being invited to apply for this summer’s study-abroad program. The curriculum will involve those who are selected in daily Chinese language study, drills and practices with native speakers, and home stays with host families. According to Gao, the NSLI-Y program is so intense that, in six weeks, students receive the equivalent of a full year of Mandarin study in a typical American high school course.

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