Lexington students learning about Chinese culture, language

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Some Lexington One students are getting to experience Chinese culture right here in the Midlands at Chinese summer camp. Students are learning about Chinese culture, and it's all for free.

Using chopsticks is no easy task, especially when you've never done it before. Add a competition to that, it can be downright scary. "I'm still having trouble with opening and closing them," said Idalia Ramirez.

But summer camp is changing that. "This is a very good chance to establish or create an interest for the students, to learn the language and the culture in the future," said Yu Xin Wang.

36 high schoolers are learning about all things Chinese. A $30,000 federal grant allows the teens to participate for free. "It's been fun to watch their eyes be open to a part of the world that they don't know," said Dawn Samples.

Idalia Ramirez was taught Spanish as a young child. She then learned to speak English and is now learning Chinese, hoping to one day be an interpreter. "The first day, we learned how to say hi, how to greet people, how to say our name in Chinese," said Ramirez.

Wednesday was cooking day. The campers learned how to make dumplings.
With about a fifth of the world's population speaking some variety of Chinese as their native language, district officials hope this camp will carve a path to success for the students. "One of our initiatives in Lexington One is to prepare students to be global citizens where they actually understand how to operate and function in the world beyond Lexington," said Samples.

The camp at Lexington High School ends Friday, but the school will offer Chinese as an elective starting next year. Officials are hoping the camp sparks some interest.

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