Confucius Institute builds ‘bridge’ fo...

Confucius Institute builds ‘bridge’ for Tennessee teens

While school is still out for millions of Tennessee youngsters, learning continues for 11 fortunate youths July 7-22 under the auspices of MTSU’s Confucius Institute.

The students will attend the fourth annual 2014 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp organized by the Confucius Institute, which will take them to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou in the People’s Republic of China.

Confucius Institute logoRui Qian, a Chinese language instructor at the MTSU institute, will chaperone the youngsters through a schedule of educational, cultural and entertainment experiences.

“They will attend classes, but not all day because they are young students and we want them to experience the local life,” Qian said.

Chinese language classes are part of the agenda, but kung fu classes are also offered, as are optional cultural classes such as calligraphy and painting.

Qian said the Great Wall of China and trips to some of the country’s oldest villages are also on tap.

An exchange with students from a high school in Hangzhou is slated as well as a visit to Hangzhou Normal University, with which MTSU has an educational partnership. Language, cultural and other educational programs are provided by Hangzhou Normal University.

“This is a beautiful opportunity and a dream come true,” said Shaunna Barbee, mother of camper Antonio H. Barbee of Nashville, Tennessee. “Antonio has always loved Asian culture, and he’s a rising black belt in karate.”

The students applied for the limited number of positions by submitting academic transcripts and recommendation letters from teachers to the MTSU institute. Admission is based on academic performance, interest in Chinese language and culture.

Students are responsible for their round-trip transportation to China, a processing fee and a visa fee. The Confucius Institute covers all expenses in China, including transportation, excursions, and room and board.

Attending this year’s camp are:

  • Antonio H. Barbee, in transition from Jordan High School, Durham, N.C., recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee;
  • Benjamin Z. Bess and Glenn E. Scrivens II, Oakland High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee;
  • Leslie Hennings, Siegel High School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee;
  • Adrian Daniel Spencer-Smith, Brentwood High School, Brentwood, Tennessee;
  • Zoe Walker, Stewarts Creek High School, Smyrna, Tennessee;
  • Hong Colleen Feng, Farragut Middle School, Farragut, Tennessee;
  • Eric Wang and Amber Diaz, Farragut High School, Farragut, Tennessee;
  • Rockell Hicks, Alvin York Institute, Jamestown, Tennessee;
  • Kennady Allese Peek, The Webb School, Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

The mission of the Confucius Institute at MTSU is to enhance the understanding of Chinese language and culture, facilitate engagement with China and create opportunities for exchange and collaboration between communities in Tennessee and China.

For more information, go to or call 615-494-8696.

— Gina K. Logue (