STARTALK helps students learn Chinese language, culture

March 3, 2010

Last year, Chandler High School senior Faith Garvie started the STARTALK camp without really knowing any Chinese. 

“I went into the program knowing next to nothing about Chinese language and culture and emerged with a very good background in Chinese music, movies, art, history and many other cultural aspects,” she said. “I also learned a considerable amount of Chinese language and grammar by the end of the two weeks.” Download Full Image

STARTALK is a Chinese language and culture camp that will be held June 13-27 where high school students will stay in the Barrett Honors College for 15 days, getting a taste of college life, immersing themselves in learning the Chinese language and culture, and meeting other Arizona high school students.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for high school students to explore and expand their knowledge in Chinese language and culture through a highly structured theme-based curriculum,” said Madeline K. Spring, STARTALK's co- investigator. 

Arizona high school students entering their sophomore through senior years are eligible to apply. Language proficiency levels for applicants can range from no knowledge of the language to intermediate levels. Students who are selected will get tuition, room and board, and instructional materials covered. The only cost will be a $100 registration fee for students who are accepted.

The deadline for applications is March 31.

ASU was awarded a grant for about $100,000 to run its “Chinese Language Summer Camp: From STARTALK to Flagship.” More than a hundred programs across the country have been awarded STARTALK grants for Chinese, Arabic, Hindi and other languages, according to the STARTALK Web site.  This is the second time ASU has been awarded the grant.

“From a broader perspective, this is to motivate students to learn Chinese,” said Xia Zhang, STARTALK’s co-investigator.

STARTALK will also prepare and identify qualified Chinese learners as potential candidates for the ASU Chinese Language Flagship Partner program. Flagship trains ASU undergraduates to achieve superior-language proficiency while pursuing degrees in their academic major. Students will be able to use their Chinese skills professionally upon graduation.

Garvie, last year’s STARTALK participant, is now taking Chinese 102 at ASU’s main campus along with several other Valley high school students who are taking Chinese through the Collegiate Scholars program at ASU. High school students accepted into the Collegiate Scholars program take college-level courses and in this case, they take Chinese and receive college credit for it. Scholarships are available to eligible students.

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Free screening of film about China's first feminist

March 3, 2010

San Francisco Bay-area independent filmmaker Rae Chang discovered China’s first feminist Qiu Jin while flipping through the pages of a book about female Chinese writers.

“What caught my attention was that she was described as a 'radical feminist from China,' which came as a surprise as I didn't even know there were feminists in China, much less radical ones,” Chang said in an e-mail interview. “After doing more research on Qiu Jin, I thought more people should learn about her amazing life and that she'd make a great subject for a documentary.” Download Full Image

Chang, 37, and her husband Adam Tow, 34, produced the hour-long film "Autumn Gem," a documentary that details the life of Chinese revolutionary heroine and women’s rights activist Qiu Jin. The historic figure challenged traditional gender roles and demanded equal rights and opportunities for women during China’s last dynasty. The documentary stars former Chinese National Wushu Champion and Hollywood stunt actress Li Jing.

The couple produced the film for about $50,000, shooting the film in the United States and China. At one point, Chang quit her full-time job to devote all of her time to conducting research and writing the script. Chang and Tow, who were both born and raised in the United States, have seen different reactions to the documentary while traveling across the country promoting their film.

“Most people in the U.S. have never heard of her, and were surprised to learn about this person who was so ahead of her time and part of the extraordinary women's movement,” Chang said. “People from China knew about her story, although they were more familiar with her political revolutionary aspect and not so much on her women's rights activism.”

Chang, a graphic designer, is a 1994 graduate of U.C. Berkeley in art and anthropology. Tow, who runs his own technology consulting business, graduated from Stanford University in 1997 with a degree in symbolic systems. The film is narrated in English and contains Chinese dialogue and scholar commentary with English subtitles.

The filmmakers will be available during the Q&A session after the film screening.

What: Screening of "Autumn Gem," an independent film
When: March 27 at 2 p.m., Q&A with filmmakers will follow
Where: Lattie F. Coor Hall, room 170, Tempe campus
Admission: Free
Event Sponsors: School of International Letters and Cultures (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program, Confucius Institute, Asian Pacific American Studies

Irene Hsiao, irene.hsiao">mailto:irene.hsiao@asu.ed">
ASU Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program
(480) 727-0879