This spring, several of our students will take the Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture examination, an extraordinary accomplishment considering that the majority of these students had entered Middlesex not knowing a word of the language. The feat is just one example of the strength of our Chinese program, which continues to thrive in its 16th year at Middlesex. Today, students cite a variety motivations for pursuing Chinese at Middlesex: some seek to better understand the native language of their Chinese friends, others hope to become more connected to a culture they’ve come to appreciate through media, news, and food, and others simply want to try something that’s distinct from the more typical modern languages offered in high school. As one student notes, “Choosing to study Chinese is very practical. As the most spoken language in the world, it is important to learn both English and Chinese to communicate with millions and even billions of people. Also, studying Chinese exposes oneself to a completely different culture, opening one's eyes to not just the U.S. but to the world.”
Working in small classes of six or fewer, our students participate in a highly interactive program that integrates language skills with lessons of Chinese history, tradition, and culture. Led by teachers Annie Ku and TianTian Wang, the Chinese Department ensures that learning extends beyond the classroom as well. For instance, many students participate in Chinese Club, which, among other activities, cooks culinary delights for Chinese festivals. A group of students even took a faculty-led trip to Beijing and Shanghai, where they immersed themselves in Chinese culture while applying their language skills in a real-world setting. “The Chinese curriculum at Middlesex is very unique,” one student explains, “because it emphasizes the close, intertwined relationship between culture and language.”
Several recent alumni have used their Chinese experience at Middlesex as a foundation for fulfilling and successful professions, majoring in Chinese in college, establishing business careers in China, and even earning Masters degrees in teaching Chinese. Still, whether you’re hoping to spark a long-term connection with the language or simply hoping to stretch your intellect in a fun and creative way, you’ll undoubtedly find a group of lifelong friends in this energetic and closely knit department. As one of our students states, “Coming to Middlesex, I had no Chinese experience and thus had no preconception of what Chinese would be like. So far, I have loved every minute of it, and have never looked back.”
Check out a gallery of photos from our Chinese Department, or watch a video from our China trip below!