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New cases of COVID-19 in Wake County up 36% in latest data — Wake County reported 3,665 new cases of COVID-19 for the week ending May 7, a growth of 36% week-over-week. That's more than double the statewide rate of growth which was 32% for the same time period.
Published: 2022-05-11 10:44:00
Updated: 2022-05-11 13:21:23
Posted May 11, 2022 10:44 a.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2022 1:21 p.m. EDT
By Renee Chou, WRAL anchor/reporter
Cary, N.C. — A new opportunity for people to learn Mandarin Chinese in Wake County is all because of a partnership between the United States and Taiwan.
The North Carolina Raleigh Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning, which opened earlier this year, offers adults the chance to learn traditional Chinese. Thirty-five of these centers are in the U.S. already, as well as 10 in Europe. This is the first Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning in N.C.
The U.S. and Taiwanese governments signed an agreement in 2020 to expand Mandarin learning overseas. The Raleigh Chinese Language School, which offers language classes to students from kindergarten to 12th grade, applied and received funding in 2021 from the Taiwan Overseas Community Affairs Council to establish a language learning center for people 18 and over.
The new center’s mission is to teach Mandarin Chinese in an environment free of politics or any government pressure.
Taiwan is a democratically-governed island which China views as its territory. Mainland China, under communist rule, uses simplified Chinese as its standard way of writing. Taiwan uses Traditional Chinese, which is the conventional writing system that has been used by the people of China for thousands of years, with more strokes and more complexity.
Dr. Hann-Yi Chen, director of the N.C. Raleigh Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning, said the Taiwan component makes its Mandarin Learning approach stand unique.
“We teach the authentic, or the so-called traditional, characteristics of Chinese characters, and we also incorporate the culture,” she said.
Chen emphasizes there is no politics or government pressure in the curriculum.
“We won’t impose or ask any student to do something or learning something from the government view. It’s all about the education, tradition and language.”
Students commit to a 12-week semester of three hours a week, two in person and one online. They attend classes at the Greenwood Forest Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Cary, which leases its building to the center for use.
They practice reading, writing and speaking Chinese with a highly experienced and native speaking instructor. They also learn about cultural traditions such as holiday celebrations, Chinese calligraphy and Taiwanese cuisine.
Shannon Hutchinson of Raleigh said she started learning Mandarin “for stress relief.” She said she wanted to do something to engage her brain.
“It’s really very relaxing, and it’s just different from everything else I do, so it really makes my brain focus,” Hutchinson said. “Mandarin is just completely different, and I was really interested to learn something totally new.”
Hutchinson said she looks forward to class every Saturday. She said she doesn’t have a specific end goal for learning Chinese, just the simple pleasure of learning about a different culture.
The N.C. Raleigh Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning is wrapping up its first semester with two adult classes, but it plans to offer summer workshops and classes in the fall. Tuition is $200 for a 12-week session.
You can learn more about the local program online or see the other Taiwan Centers for Mandarin Learning in the U.S. and in Europe.
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