Confucius Institute receives grant for teaching Chinese

Lilly Casolaro

Staff Writer

The National Security Agency is funding a $120,000 federal grant for the training of 12 teachers and 24 high school students from Alabama and other parts of the Southeast to learn Chinese.

STARTALK was launched as a new component in the program of the National Security Language Initiative.

STARTALK’S mission is to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking and teaching critical-need foreign languages by offering high school students and language teachers creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify the best practices in language education and in language teacher development, according to the Troy STARTALK website.

For the fifth year, STARTALK’s Student Chinese Language Summer Program and Chinese Teacher Training Program will be hosted at Troy University on June 28-July 12.

Tingting Xiong, Chinese language program coordinator and STARTALK student program coordinator, said a benefit of the STARTALK program is the relationships that are built from the program.

“Two students are paired with one teacher, and they collaborate on projects, and students are given the opportunity to practice Chinese during the sessions,” Xiong said.

“Students who attend the camp love it very much. They meet many people from all across the United States and create lifelong friends.”

According to Troy-STARTALK teacher program website: “This training program is designed to solve the problem of a shortage of qualified and professional trained Chinese language teachers in Alabama and surrounding areas.”

Iris Hong Xu, director of the Confucius Institute, said this is a unique program that provides cultural opportunities for participants.

“Students who complete the program have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs in China through the Confucius Institute at Troy University. In this unique program as an addition to the language studies, students will be exposed to Chinese culture and language through learning Chinese Kung Fu and Dragon dance, making Chinese-related arts and crafts, playing traditional games, cooking, and calligraphy.”

The Troy STARTALK application deadline to apply for students and for teachers is April 30. The application deposit for teachers is $100; the fee for students is $50.

For application, guidelines and further information, visit

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