Preparing Boys for Life.

Chinese Language and Culture Camp

learn Mandarin for the first time or build on your existing knowledge. Led by a team of native and non-native Mandarin speaking instructors, both of whom have master's degrees in teaching Chinese, you will understand the full spectrum of learning Chinese and how it can open doors in your life.

Through authentic application of daily communicative tasks like ordering in a restaurant, asking for directions, or reserving a train ticket online, you will acquire Chinese naturally and in an interactive and engaging small group setting. Students in the intermediate course will also have the opportunity to take an ACTFL-based language exam, the AAPPL, to use for placement purposes, college credits, and resume building.

Learn how to study Chinese the right way, through task-based vocabulary and grammar acquisition, so that when you move on to further programs you will do so with a solid foundation.

Interested families do not need to be enrolled at Haverford to attend; this camp is open to both boys and girls.

Early Bird Registration:
Sign up by June 1 and receive complimentary study materials and a camp t-shirt.

Course Descriptions, Outcomes & Pricing

Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture (Grades 6-9)

Three, two-week clinics, 6th-9th grade students

Are you interested in learning languages? How about a language that is spoken by 1.34 billion people, from a culture that boasts 2,500 years of history and is over 7000 miles away? China is the second largest economy in the world, America’s biggest trade partner, and Mandarin is an up and coming language that could provide life changing opportunities for interested students. Chinese language and culture consists of far more than Kung Pow Chicken, Jackie Chan and the Great Wall. Find out what else there is during this two week introductory Mandarin course.

Monday-Thursday, 3:45-5:15 p.m.

The camp consists of one hour of language learning, followed by a half an hour to implement the new words while learning about various aspects of Chinese culture.

Session 1: July 10-July 21
Session 2: July 24-Aug. 4
Session 3: August 7-Aug. 18

By the end of the two weeks, students will have acquired a basic and solid language foundation using culturally authentic and meaningful themes and tasks including introducing their names, describing their nationality, and even expressing simple opinions. Students will learn to say their Chinese zodiac and even order food in a Chinese restaurant, skills that will help them step out of their comfort zone and connect with real people from a different culture. They will learn how to study Chinese the right way so that when they move on to further programs they will do so with a solid foundation.


$350 per two-week clinic

Intermediate Chinese Language and Culture (Grades 8-12)

Two, three-week (1/2 day) sessions, 8th-12th grade

Do you want to improve your Chinese language skills in a small, interactive and fun environment? The Intermediate Chinese Language and Culture course provides an atmosphere where students with prior Mandarin experience develop and hone their skills in a small group setting, as well as prepare themselves to take an ACTFL certified proficiency test at the end of the course.

Through daily classes and efficient task-based language instruction, students will solidify their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar concepts, and cultural awareness with specific communicative goals in mind. Memorizing vocabulary and grammar structures is much easier when placed in the context of specific culturally authentic experiences. Inviting friends to the movies or out to eat, finding your way around on public transportation, or even discussing politics in the U.S. and China, are all topics well within a motivated student’s reach.

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

The camp consists of two hours of language learning, followed by an hour of guided homework help.

Session 1: July 10-28
Session 2: July 31-Aug. 18

By the end of the session, students will not only have attained significant improvement in listening, speaking, reading and writing, but will also develop effective and sustainable learning techniques and routines that they can take with them as they continue to study the language. To conclude the course, students will receive an official score from the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) for their Mandarin competence, which students may use for placement and other purposes in the future. Known for developing standardized proficiency guidelines, ACTFL is an organization recognized by the federal government and all high schools and colleges in the country, and a test score from them will provide students with an accurate assessment of their Mandarin skills. Though studying Mandarin during the school year as a regular academic course provides a great foundation, there is no limit to the progress a student can make during intensive, efficient summer language study. Our program provides a supportive, rigorous, and fun atmosphere for students to excel in Chinese.

$1,300 per three-week session

Frequently Asked Questions

Where and when do the courses take place?

The camp will be held in Wilson Hall at The Haverford School. Campus map & directions >

The introductory course will take place Monday-Thursday from 3:45-5:15 p.m. It lasts for two weeks.

The intermediate course will take place Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon. It lasts for three week. Students in the intermediate course may sign up for two three-week sessions if they choose.

Who is it for?

The introductory course is offered to rising sixth-ninth graders who are brand new to Chinese.

The intermediate course is offered to entering eighth-12th graders who have experience learning Chinese.

What will my child learn?

Your child will learn to communicate, in culturally authentic themes, through listening, speaking, reading and writing (typing or texting). They will be able to do this in several modes, including interpersonal (asking and receiving direction when being lost in a Chinese city), interpretive (reading a menu in a Chinese restaurant), and presentational (writing a job-searching email to potential Chinese employers).

He/she will also learn about Chinese culture, customs, history, and social norms in the context of language acquisition. After attending Chinese camp, your child will be more prepared and equipped to take on any challenges of learning Chinese.

Why Chinese?

There are several reasons to take Chinese:

  • Brain Development: It has been empirically proven that learning a second language in an early stage of life is extremely beneficial to brain development. While any language is beneficial, learning Chinese characters stimulates and develops a different part of a child’s brain than English letters.
  • Practicality: One in every four people in the world speaks Chinese. China is only going to become more influential on the global stage, and even a basic command of Mandarin will set your child apart from his peers. The ability to communicate between the two biggest economies and most influential countries in the world, the U.S. and China, is an incredible skill.
  • Life Skills: As with most school subjects, after-school sports, and extracurriculars, learning Chinese has as much to do with building character as it does with learning the skills themselves. Learning Chinese builds perseverance, develops discipline and provides a sense of satisfaction from hard work and accomplishments.

Is it true that Chinese is difficult to learn?

There are different myths floating around about Chinese, such as no American can ever be fluent in Chinese. Like any other subject in school or activity in life, learning Chinese does require hard work!

Our camp is run by two highly qualified instructors who understand both Chinese pedagogy and the culture and learning tendency of American students.

Within the first week of the camp, your child will be able to tell the difference between authentic cultural differences and misconceptions. Through instruction that focuses on communicative skills, (speaking and listening), students’ progress will not be slowed down by the challenge of handwriting characters. While this may become a skill students want to acquire later on their language learning path, it tends to stunt the growth in other areas. Focusing on speaking and listening first, then reading and writing, will give students a strong communicative foundation.

Learn More

Are you interested in learning more about The Haverford School? Visit our Upper School Modern and Classical Languages Department, meet members of our community in Faces of Haverford, and read about our leadership in educating boys on The Big Room Blog.


Early Bird Registration:
Sign up by June 1 and receive complimentary study materials and a camp t-shirt.

Complete your online registration today >

Did You Know?

Studying Chinese forces students to consider issues of diversity, empathize with foreign groups, and equips them for an increasingly globalized society. Experienced Chinese teachers stretch students to develop character, perseverance, and intellectual curiosity and capacity for learning.


Gary Kan

Chinese Instructor
610-642-3020, x1327

Taylor Smith-Kan

Chinese & English Instructor
610-642-3020, x1292

About Mr. Kan

A native of Hong Kong, China, Gary Kan teaches Upper School Chinese at The Haverford School and leads a travel-study program to China.

Kan previously taught Chinese at The Taft School in Connecticut, and instituted a new Chinese program at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kan received a B.S. from Bates College, majoring in Chinese and physics. He also holds an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from Middlebury College. He is an active member of the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages.

About Mrs. Smith-Kan

Taylor Smith-Kan teaches Upper School Chinese and English at The Haverford School. She has studied Chinese for 12 years and has tutored high school, college, and graduate school students.

Smith-Kan previously taught at Durham Academy in North Carolina. She has traveled extensively through China, and also lived in the country for one year.

She received a B.A. from Bates College, majoring in Chinese and English. Smith-Kan also holds an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from Middlebury College.

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