Adam Oliver, of Cazenovia, is one of 28 U.S. high school students spending most of July in a federally-sponsored Chinese language immersion program at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
Having taken just a single year of Chinese study as a freshman at Manlius Pebble Hill School last year, Oliver applied to and was accepted by STARTALK, a program of the U.S. State Department’s National Security Language Initiative.
The goal of STARTALK is to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking, and teaching “strategically important world languages,” including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Swahili, and Urdu. The intensive three-week Chinese STARTALK program is being conducted at the University of Hawaii’s Confucius Institute and Center for Chinese Studies.
Oliver, who already is proficient in French, has his eye on an possible career in international relations and diplomacy. He believes an understanding of world languages, histories and lifestyles is becoming increasingly important as nations interact and compete to an ever-growing extent in the global arena.
“China, for example, is a growing power in business and trade,” Oliver said. “Americans need to be able to comprehend and converse in Chinese, as well as other languages, and we need to develop a much deeper understanding of diverse cultures.”