Chinese language learning open doors for American students

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-05-01 11:42:26

American girl Claire Fuschi had never dreamed of hosting a conference in front of an audience of 1,300, let alone hosting the conference in Mandarin Chinese.

Fuschi, 16, a sophomore at Chicago's Walter Payton College Prep High School, was selected to host the opening ceremony of the three-day 9th National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) held on Thursday in Chicago, the US state of Illinois.

In a red dress and high-heel shoes, Fuschi looked confident and elegant on the stage. "On behalf of all the American students learning Chinese, I would like to thank our Chinese teachers. Thank you for all the hard work," she said in fluent Putonghua, or standard Mandarin Chinese.

Hours before the ceremony, Fuschi, or Fang Tingting, a Chinese name adopted by her, was busy preparing for the speech at the Confucius Institute in Chicago, which was located on the first floor of Fuschi's school.

Word by word, Fuschi followed her teacher Jane Lu's instruction carefully. "It is the first time I'll be a host, let alone host in Chinese, I feel very nervous," Fuschi, or Fang told Xinhua, with sparkles of excitement in her eyes.

Fuschi, who has been learning Chinese for almost 11 years, is among the 120 students at the high school who choose to learn Chinese as their foreign language in public schools. In the greater Chicago area, the number of students who enroll to learn Chinese has reached 13,000 this year.

Lu, who is also the director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago, noted that the institute was the first one in the United States that primarily focuses on Chinese language teaching for American students in public elementary and high schools.

When Fuschi was at her first grade in elementary school, her mother got her enrolled in a Chinese language class. "My family was very supportive. Since then, I've always loved learning Chinese," said Fuschi, adding that she hoped to use the language in her future job.

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