The article begins, as is often the case with journalists, with an example of some sixty year old studying in China. I cut to the chase.
Small college sees Mandarin as a must [ChicagoTribune.com]
With China an ever-growing player in the global economy, educators are searching for ways to prepare students to compete. In recent years, Mandarin Chinese-language classes have taken their place alongside Spanish and French in many American schools, at all grade levels.
More than 7,000 Chicago Public Schools students from preschool up now take Mandarin classes, the largest such enrollment in the country, city school officials say. The College Board offered its first Advanced Placement exam in Chinese language and culture last May. On the college level, the number of students taking a Chinese language class grew by 51 percent from 2002 to 2006, the Modern Language Association reports.
China hosted 8,830 U.S. study abroad students in the 2005-06 school year, up 38 percent from the previous year, according to the Institute for International Education's survey. The United Kingdom topped the list of destinations, but China ranked second behind Argentina's.
"I think China is already a big player right now in international politics, and it's only going to become more so," said Dan Woodall, 23, one of those departing in August for the College of Lake County program. Woodall, of Buffalo Grove, works full time at a luggage and travel store in Skokie. After he returns from studying abroad, he hopes to transfer to the University of Chicago to study international relations.