UB "Weekend School" Teaches Chinese Language and Culture to Adopted Chinese Children

Program modeled on UB Japanese Weekend School

Release Date: November 15, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Chinese-born children adopted by American parents and living in the Buffalo area now can learn about their native culture and language at a weekend school sponsored by the University at Buffalo World Languages Institute (WLI), a unit of its Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The school is called the AC (for Asian Connection) Chinese School because it was initiated by parents who are members of Asian Connection, an association in the Western New York area for parents who have adopted children from Asia, especially China. They wanted their adopted children to understand the complex culture of their native country and be familiar with Mandarin, a group of closely related Chinese dialects spoken in about four-fifths of China.

The school opened on Sept. 22 and its students include adopted Chinese children, their parents and children of Chinese origin who are not adopted. It also is open to the general public.

The fee is $70 per student per semester, which covers the cost of the teachers' transportation.

Fifteen children currently are enrolled in the school. Classes meet three times a month on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon in Clemens Hall on UB's North (Amherst) Campus. All teachers are professionals with either a doctorate or master's degree in foreign language instruction or elementary education.

Individuals interested in participating in the school should contact the school's coordinator, Xuehong Lu, lecturer in linguistics at UB and an instructor in the university's Chinese Language and Culture Program. She can be reached at 716-645-2191 or by email at xuehongl@acsu.buffalo.edu.

The school currently offers four classes, one each for children ages 3-4, children who are 4, those ages 5-7 and teen-agers. Many of the teen-agers are local children of Chinese origin who are not adopted. Adults, most of who are the parents of the adopted children, also attend the classes.

The AC Chinese School operates in a manner similar to UB's Japanese Weekend School. The Japanese school is operated by the UB World Languages Institute in partnership with the Buffalo Nihongo Club, a non-profit organization that provides instruction in Japanese language and culture to the children of Japanese and Japanese-American couples, children who otherwise might lose touch with their Japanese cultural and linguistic heritage.

The Japanese Language School advisor, Mitsuaki Shimojo, is an assistant professor of Japanese and coordinator of UB's Japanese language program. The WLI makes classroom and office space available for that program as well, and provides professional teachers with either a doctorate or master's degree in foreign language instruction or elementary education.

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