On the evening of October 30th, loads of exciting voices broke the tranquility of the rainy night of Mount Eagle Retreat Center when 20 high school students from 7 school districts of Arkansas arrived at the Center to start their two-day-long Chinese Immersion camp with the company of Chinese teachers from Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.
The students had a tight schedule with well-designed activities in the program. In the first night, they had three activities. The first one was the orientation which informed the students of the mission and the requirements of the. The second one was making Chinese dumplings. Because it was their first attempt, the students were excited throughout this activity from picking up the wrapper, filling in the stuffing to folding patterns on the dumplings. Some of them even shared their “products” on their facebook. Lastly, after having their hand-made dumplings, students watched a Chinese movie ---“12 Zodiacs”.
The next morning, a series of Chinese activities took place after the students got up. Firstly, ordering their breakfast with the Chinese words on the flash cards. In order to get their food, students had to use those words and put them into the sentence structure of “I want……”， which turned out to be both challenging and motivating. Then an ice-breaking activity was held in order to make the students get to know each other in a relaxing atmosphere. After this they began to learn and practice various words about fruits, profession, sports, body parts and animals. Apart from learning indoors, there were enjoyable Chinese-style outdoor games too, such as kicking shuttlecock and throwing beanbag. Of all the games, treasure hunting turned out to be the most favored one, in which two groups had to design Chinese clues to direct the other group to find the treasure.
When evening came, the students were divided into four groups to make different Chinese dishes under the instruction of Chinese teachers. The dishes were astonishingly delicious. Each group was very satisfied with their performance. Throughout these games, the teachers were marveled by students’ creativities and learning abilities.
On the third day, Dr. Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCA Confucius Institute, summarized the program, and expressed her wishes that students could maintain their interests in learning Chinese language and participate in programs designed for high school students by UCACI. After the speech, she granted awards and souvenirs to the students. At the end of the program, a video that captured the three-day life of the students in the program was shown. The young and cheerful faces in the video retold their gains of Chinese and joyfulness in the Chinese Immersion program.