Star Talk seeks to bridge language gaps in United States

Dozens of students are learning a different language and culture, in hopes that it will improve relations between the United States and China.

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Dozens of students are learning a different language and culture, in hopes that it will improve relations between the United States and China.

For the past two weeks, about 50 students have been learning about the Chinese culture. It's part of the 'Star Talk' program, put on by the Bangor Chinese School. Jing Zhang, the president of the school,said she hopes this program will improve the future relations between the two countries.

"It's a great partner of the United States to work together to bring the wonderful things to the world," she said.

The program is funded by the U.S. National Security Language Initiative (NSLI). The students came to Bangor from all across the country, hoping to improve their skills.

"There's still some gaps in my Chinese and I want to be able to fill them in, so I can learn to talk fluently and go to China and be able to talk to the Chinese people," said 9-year-old, Sahara Frett.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Simmons has always wanted to go to China, especially after meeting friends at the Maine School of Science and Math. "It's very interesting to me and it's just a totally different world, so I want to get a piece of that. I want to experience that," he said.

As part of the program, Simmons and 25 other students, will spend six weeks in China. "I'm very excited for the culture. I'm not sure how I'm going to do with the language," he said.

Simmons has high praise for the 'Star Talk' program, as he prepares for his adventure in a different country, with a different language and a different culture.

"There's little emphasis on English and a huge emphasis on Chinese. It's great being around a group of people, similar to me, who have similar interests in learning the language and culture," he said.


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