BANGOR – Nearly 24 high schools in Maine offer Chinese course.
That’s just one piece of evidence the world is changing into a multi-cultural stew.
A two-day conference in Bangor shined the spotlight on business, cultural and educational opportunities between America and China.
The economic reality is today’s financial markets are becoming more of a global economy on a daily basis. And, with China’s economy growing by leaps and bounds, a key to future business success is being able to communicate in Mandarin as well as debits and credits.
“To get our children ready to compete for the global jobs,” said Jing Zhang, coordinator for the conference and director of the Chinese Language and Culture Center of Maine.
The conference organizer says the more Maine schools offering Chinese studies the better prepared young adults will be to step into the business world.
“We want our children to learn the things that are going to be useful and bring a bright tomorrow for their future,” she said.
Some schools not only offer mandarin classes, but also actively recruit students from Asia.
“Bringing international students here has been a blessing for Lee Academy,” said Butch Arthurs, the associate headmaster of Lee Academy.
Lee Academy has an enrollment of 215 students, with about 15 percent of those from China.
In past years, students from seven Asian countries, five Central American countries, 10 European countries, plus Australia, Israel and Canada have attended Lee Academy.
“They’re not really concerned about how many are there from their country. They’re more concerned about the way of life and how we it here in America,” Arthurs said Friday morning.
One theme repeated by participants was the more you know about other cultures, the better you can relate on an international stage.