students writing caligraphy


Fishers Center for Academic and Economic Innovation
Ball State University
12175 Visionary Way
Fishers, IN 46038 

Ball State University, in collaboration with STARTALK, will offer a tuition-free summer program for middle/high school students. To learn Mandarin and experience Chinese culture, students will be immersed in a culturally rich and academically intensive environment.

The theme of our program is “Visiting a Chinese Family”. The program is organized around STARTALK’s principles for effective teaching and learning with an emphasis on implementing a standards-based curriculum and conducting a performance-based assessment. By the end of the program, students are expected to reach Novice-Mid to Intermediate-low level on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. 

For more information, download our flyer (PDF)

About the Program

Rising 6th -12th students in the summer of 2023 (students who will be in 6th- 12th grade in fall 2023) are eligible for participation in the program. Preference will be given to applicants who show a commitment to the full length of the program.

The beginning-level class is for rising 6th-12th students with little or no previous learning experience of Chinese.

The intermediate-level class is intended for those who have attained Novice-mid/high level proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.

Rising high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for dual credits.

Only 30 students will be enrolled due to limited space capacity. Spots will fill quickly so we recommend that you submit your application as early as possible. Admission is based on the dates when we receive the completed applications. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please note that the program is intensive. Therefore, it cannot be combined with other time-consuming commitments (e.g., full-time job, athletic activities, etc.) because they may interfere with your participation in the program and consequently affect your learning. Significant financial resources are invested in each participant. We expect each participant can attend and benefit from the entire experience.

The benefits of the STARTALK program at Ball State University are:

  • You will have the rare opportunity to study Chinese, a critical need language in the USA, in the engaging culture-rich summer course, and the chance to continue in our regular Chinese courses if you attend Ball State.
  • You can experience college study early helping to apply for college and later adapt to college life.
  • Rising high school juniors and seniors can receive 3 credits for both high school and college graduation if they take this summer course as a dual-credit course.  
  • There are no tuition costs.

Pre-camp and post-camp online learning: 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays between January 10 and March 14 for pre-camp learning, and August 1 and October 3 for post-camp learning.

Online learning can provide some flexibility in terms of scheduling conflicts. If you can study the recorded online classes that you miss due to scheduling conflicts, and finish all the assignments on time, you can still apply.

Students need to prepare an electronic device to access online classes. The BSU STARTALK program will NOT provide any electronic device for the online learning.)

In-person immersive summer Camp: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday to Friday between June 12 and June 30, 2023. Lunch will be provided at no cost.

In the summer camp, language classes and all extracurricular activities will be conducted daily Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free lunch is provided. Students need to arrange their own transportation to the classrooms in Fishers, Indiana.

This program is sponsored by STARTALK, so tuition is free. In addition, free lunch is provided to all the participants.

Once the application period closes, we will make our decisions and notify you by December 1, 2022. Students on the waitlist will also be notified; several of the students from this list are typically accepted into the program at a later date.

STARTALK is a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency. STARTALK grants fund several types of innovative programs that create strong language learning outcomes for K-16 students, provide in-depth, quality teacher development, and develop support materials and resources for educators in order to meet the goals for critical need languages in the United States.

STARTALK’s overall mission is to increase the number of young Americans learning and speaking critical need foreign languages by offering creative and engaging learning experiences for K-16 students.

For more information about STARTALK, please visit their website.

Ready to Apply?

To apply, you'll need to complete the application form, including a statement of interest (100-200 words) explaining why you would like to participate in the program, a letter of recommendation from a teacher who has taught you, and your most recent report card. Contact Liu Li for more information.