Chinese Language Camp |中文夏令营

  • IN-PERSON CAMP JULY 12 - 26, 2025
  • Free for all participants!
  • Application will open in September| Other camps found here
  • To join our Mailing list for 2025 Enter your info here

STARTALK and the University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, are excited to collaborate on the STARTALK - Sewanee Chinese Language Camp, an immersive language camp with a focus on environmental sustainability and outdoor recreation for 9th-11th grade high-school students already at a novice-high to intermediate ACTFL proficiency level.

Prior to camp, students will improve their language skills and understanding of China’s environment through extensive language input, research, and weekly virtual meetings.

During camp, students will put their language skills to use while exploring Sewanee’s 13,000 acres of pristine forest atop the Cumberland Plateau with activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, swimming, and even caving. This natural environment is also one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the United States and will serve as a living laboratory as we perform science experiments such as salamander counting, bird watching, and water sampling while remaining immersed in the target language.

After the in-person camp, students will continue to immerse themselves in the language and culture by developing a culminating presentation comparing and contrasting environmental concerns both locally and globally. Students will come away with significantly improved Chinese language skills, a heightened appreciation of environmental issues, and a greater understanding of Chinese culture.

Most mornings students will engage in immersive language learning in the classroom. In the afternoon, students will continue to learn through project-based activities (e.g. hiking, organic gardening, biking, caving, etc.) while maintaining as much of an immersive environment as possible. The theme of “Environmental Stewardship” will provide ample opportunities for communication about food, geography, and culture; learning about the cultures and environments of China; connecting to art and history. By the end of the program, students will be able to handle many authentic tasks, including telling and asking about basic personal information, as well as commenting on the geography and environment of China and the USA. 

The 2024 STARTALK - Sewanee Chinese Language Camp is free for all participants! This will cover all tuition, lodging, meals, and transportation associated with the program once students arrive on campus. Please indicate your need for financial assistance for travel to and from camp in your application.  For 2024, we will accept twenty students and will require a Zoom interview as part of the admissions process. 


The exact dates of the in-person Chinese Language Camp are from June 15 to July 1, 2024. Students will live in a residence hall on campus for the entire time, with the possibility of an overnight camping trip.

Campers should plan on arriving to campus between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, and then depart campus by noon on Monday, July 1. For more information on traveling to campus, please visit here

Application Requirements
  • Students must be between 14 and 17 years old during the in-person portion of the camp. 
  • Students are required to have prior Chinese language experience and have reached a Novice-High proficiency level according to ACTFL guidelines. 
  • Applicants will be required to have a video interview with our admissions committee. 
  • Students should be prepared to participate in moderate outdoor activity, including potential hiking, biking, swimming, farming, and caving. 
  • Participation in ALL online pre-camp, in-person camp, and online post-camp sessions are required. 
To apply to be a counselor more information can be found here
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Marcus Murphy | 马老师 
Program Director | Startalk - Sewanee Chinese Language Camp