This summer, 28 local high school students will fly to China, one of the first major initiatives of George Mason's new Confucius Institute.
The Confucius Institute, which was established on April 16, is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a cooperation between George Mason University, the Beijing Language and Culture University and the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing to promote Chinese language and culture in the metro area. It is part of a network of 250 such institutes worldwide.
From July 14 to Aug. 1, local high school students will tour Beijing and Shandong Province for "An eye-opening experience," said Chinese, Modern and Classical Languages Professor Karl Zhang, a co-director of the Confucius Institute.
On June 6, there will be a pre-departure orientation for the students and their families.
Summer time Chinese language and culture enrichment courses will also be offered to local high school students.
In addition to the two Chinese Embassy Scholarships Mason enjoys every year, the forming of the new Confucius Institute has afforded seven more Mason students/graduates an opportunity to study abroad at a Chinese university on full Confucius Institute scholarships for academic year 2009-2010.
"The activities of the Mason Confucius Institute will certainly develop Mason's reputation in the country and worldwide," said Zhang.
The Confucius Institute will also partner with Mason's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) to offer teacher training workshops and other professional development opportunities for Chinese language teachers. Books, films, multimedia, and online materials will be available.
June 10, 2009