Asian Media Access sponsored the We As One Chinese Language Camp, a week-long immersion camp focused on embracing Chinese culture and language. Campers participate in learning and practicing different cultural related dialogue and hands-on activities. Some of the activities include Chinese cooking, embroidery, books, calligraphy, and board games. The curriculum was designed based on the Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC) theory. The goal with this ICC theory is to help teachers foster student’s ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in various cultural contexts with their knowledge of world language and culture.
A big focus on the camp is to help initiate meaningful conversations surrounding race, identity, diversity, and inclusion. Language is used as a bridge of opportunity to openly experience, discuss, and develop. It gives us a chance to share and embrace who we are, where we come from, and what we can do to build the community together. Participants who were involved in this camp gained real life experiences, empathy, compassion, and mutual understanding. Although there was an emphasis on Chinese culture, it was important to show the campers how to view the experiences as a whole, just like it is a piece of world culture. For example, prior to cooking dumplings in the cooking class, students first engage with learning about dumplings and noodles from all around the world. This way, this avoids isolating the Chinese and Asian culture from other parts of the world.
All of the participants were interested in learning more about Chinese culture and language, but gained further knowledge on Asian immigration history altogether through the experience. The camp facilitated courageous conversations through social justice themed literature, stories shared by guest speakers and peers, and open-ended discussions suitable for the youth’s cognitive development level.
Many of the youth who attended plan to return to the camp next year!