Kentucky Chinese American Association to hold language and culture classes beginning this fall
Beginning this fall, the Kentucky Chinese American Association will offer a Chinese language and culture school for children ages 4 to 14, as well as classes for adults interested in learning the language. The courses will be taught at Beaumont Middle School during the school year.
Dr. Changzhen Wang, chair of the Chinese language school committee and former president of the association, said more and more people are paying attention to China and looking for business and travel opportunities.
“They are showing, in general, an interest in Chinese language and culture at an increasingly rapid rate,” he said, adding that the school is hoping to cater to those needs.
In addition, as employers such as University of Kentucky and Lexmark are bringing more Chinese immigrants to Lexington, there is an increased need for a Chinese language and culture school for Chinese-American children. The Kentucky Chinese American Association is based in Lexington but has members all over the state. Wang said their members have been requesting a school of this nature.
“The more immigrants here, the more children we will have,” said Dr. Wei Luo, president of the Kentucky Chinese American Association. “My family, we came here and when we had a baby initially, we were worried about his English. We just thought, ‘We are speaking Chinese at home so automatically he’ll learn Chinese.’ However, that’s not true. When my younger son was 2 years old and went into daycare, he started English and was learning it faster than Chinese. So now, even though we speak Chinese at home, he couldn’t always understand, so we had to send him to Chinese school. They have to be re-educated in Chinese, so that’s why I think the school is important for immigrants.”
He laughed, adding, they’ll need to be able to talk to their grandparents back in China, but the future students will have with a leg up in their future career and business pursuits knowing both languages.
Along with language, Chinese arts and culture will have a big emphasis at the school.
“More and more people are interested in cross cultural studies and understanding different groups of people,” Luo said, adding that the seven-year-old Kentucky Chinese American Association promotes Chinese culture but also reaches out to other ethnic communities for education, support and activities.
Their programs have been met with success, as the association has grown from just a handful of families to more than 400 across the state.
“It’s time for us to start our own school, especially because our members are asking us,” Luo said, adding that the school will have excellent teachers for language and culture.