Student Program

Student program overview

The Michigan STARTALK Chinese Student Academy—MSCSA, employs a 4-week blended program that aims to provide linguistically and culturally enriched learning experiences to 50 students in grades 6-12. The 3-week face-to-face program will occur between the dates of July 9 to July 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of Western Michigan University. The subsequent one-week online program requires students to devote at least two hours per day in learning the language. Altogether, a total of 115 hours of instructional time will be provided to program participants. 

The student program coincides with the major time frame of the teacher program, thus enabling collaborative teaching and learning for the two groups of participants and providing frequent opportunities for students to have individualized attention, support, and authentic/spontaneous experiences in speaking Mandarin. Depending on their entry level, students are expected to advance their Chinese language proficiency to novice-mid, novice-high, and Intermediate-low levels by the end of the program. Student-centered learning will be emphasized in an immersion setting using a variety of authentic materials that will prepare students to engage in culturally significant communicative activities. During and after the program, Pulsar, a new, streamlined learning portfolio will be used to document and reflect students learning.


  • Face-to-face: July 9 to July 27, 2018 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Online: July 30 to August 3, 2018

Program Themes

The program theme is “Global Community Engagement.” Students will undergo a virtual study abroad tour to Xi’an and stay at host families’ houses for 3-weeks and continue exploring Xi’an school communities via online communication for one-week.

Subthemes topics

  • Subtheme 1:  Staying at Chinese host family 
  • Subtheme 2:  Traveling to places of interest in Xi’an 
  • Subtheme 3:  Celebrating cultural festival in Xi’an 
  • Subtheme 4:  Arrival at the Xi’an International airport 
  • Subtheme 5:  Networking with Xi’an school communities

Unique experiences

The program will create a unique learning experience for all learners. Authentic language and culture will be well-interconnected into the curriculum to fully engage learners in the authentic learning environment. After the 20-day learning journey, learners will gain confidence in using Mandarin Chinese to communicate with native speakers on familiar topics in daily life. Additionally, learners will develop a better understanding of Chinese cultural norms and become more aware of the differences in cultural values and perspectives that Chinese and American people may have. 

Program details


The targeted participants are rising 6-12th grade novice range proficiency level of both heritage and non-heritage learners in Kalamazoo and nearby counties. 

Certificate of excellence in learning

Students who fully participate in the program, successfully complete curricular requirements, and demonstrate a strong desire to exert your full potential in learning will receive a Certificate of Excellence in Learning after the end of the program. The certificate granted by the Western Michigan University is a strong token for students’ academic pursuit and college application.

World language credits

Students who fully participate in the program (total 115 hours) could meet at least one credit of world language high school graduation requirement under the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Program fee

Students do not need to pay any program fee. All costs including snacks and lunch are covered by the program.


The following checklist helps you to reflect on your personal learning styles and characteristics.  

  • I am highly motivated to learn Chinese language and culture.
  • I am self-disciplined and have good learning habits.
  • I am good at time management and always punctual.  

Congratulations! If your answer to each of the above statements is yes, then you are the ideal learner that the program aims to recruit.