Preparing Boys for Life.

Chinese Language and Culture Camp

The Haverford School chinese summer camp calligraphy

What activities will students do?

Students will learn about Chinese language and culture through fun experiences, including how to order food at a Chinese restaurant, book travel arrangements in China, shop for the latest Chinese fashions online, listen to popular Chinese music, and more.

Who teaches the students?

This camp is led by a team of Chinese-speaking instructors, including a native speaker, both of whom have master's degrees in teaching Chinese.

Who can enroll in the camp?

Boys and girls in grades 5-12 are welcome at The Haverford School's Chinese Language and Culture Camp. Students do not need to be enrolled at Haverford. Younger students are welcome to inquire about availability! 

Do you offer the AAPPL test?

Yes! Students in the intermediate course have the opportunity to take an ACTFL-based language exam, the AAPPL, to use for placement purposes, college credits, and resume building.

Course Descriptions & Pricing

Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture (Grades 5-9)

Chinese language and culture consists of far more than Kung Pow Chicken, Jackie Chan and the Great Wall. Students will gain a solid language foundation through interesting tasks, including introducing their names, describing their nationality, and expressing opinions. Students will learn their Chinese zodiac and order food in a Chinese restaurant.

Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
June 18-22
June 25-29

1-week session: $450
2-week session: $850

Students may sign up for either week, or both.

Intermediate Chinese Language and Culture (Grades 8-12)

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 solidify their knowledge of vocabulary, grammar concepts, and cultural awareness with specific communicative goals in mind. 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.
June 18-22
June 25-29

1-week session: $450
2-week session: $850

Students may sign up for either week, or both.

The Haverford School Chinese language summer camp

In the intermediate-level camp, students visit the Chinese and pick out an outfit on a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 5th-9th graders who are brand new to Chinese.

The intermediate course is offered to entering 8th-12th graders who have experience 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.

Summer 2018 Schedule & Pricing

June 18-22, 9 a.m.-noon
June 25-29, 9 a.m.-noon

1-week session: $450
2-week session: $850


Gary Kan

Chinese Instructor
610-642-3020, x1327

Taylor Smith-Kan

Chinese & English Instructor
610-642-3020, x1292

The Haverford School chinese native speaker

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 received a B.S. from Bates College and 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 lived in China for three years and holds an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from Middlebury College.

Learn More

Visit our Upper School curriculum page to learn about our Modern and Classical Languages Department.