17 May Chinese in America Today Just recently I heard that Mark Zuckerberg and first daughter Malia Obama have one surprising thing in common (besides both being Americans) – they take Mandarin Chinese as a second language! With examples like these, there are plenty more Americans who are doing the same thing, going to China to take intensive Mandarin courses there. Recent trends show that there is a rapidly increasing upspring of Chinese foundation courses offered in American schools. Private schools are leading, integrating Chinese language into their structures, many public schools offer Chinese after-school programs to get students taking beginner Chinese language lessons, other forms of Mandarin courses and cultural activities. Current figures reveal that over 200 000 students are actively studying Mandarin in the US presently, with more expected to follow. In fact, they want to reach one million new learners by 2020. With such figures, one can only imagine the amount of studetns who will want to actually learn Chinese in China for a period of time. An important incentive that encourages more American learners to take Chinese lessons is the incentives offered by the Chinese government through the HanBan – the headquarters and governing body of Confucius Institutes. Chinese language teachers in public school in the US are compensated through the HanBan and the Chinese government education ministry, providing a wide platform for American students to have a chance to learn Chinese too. It has become such a serious thing that students in the US can take the AP test in Chinese in addition to other foreign languages. The popularity of the Chinese language is tremendous in America. To date, there are 109 Confucius Institutes; outside China, the USA has the highest number of Confucius Institutes in the world! What is now colloquially referred to as “Chinese Fever” has really caught on with Americans, with hundreds vising China every year for tourism, to volunteer in Beijing, work and Mandarin study abroad opportunities, thereby transforming the way people now look toward China, its language and the culture. Language is a powerful form of communication and exchange between two parties, as echoed by the words of a famous advocate Mr Nelson Mandela who once said “speaking to a man in your language goes to his head, but speaking to him in his own language goes to his heart”. Go Abroad China will help you will all the stressful logistics of planning your trip to the Middle Kingdom. Our objective is to let you learn Chinese, understand the culture and engage in cross cultural exchange. Chinese schools in China have opened up and welcome thousands of foreign students annually; you could be one of them!