Center for Linguistic Exploration

La Salle College Preparatory plans to offer a Mandarin Language Program for Future Diplomats and Business Leaders spring of 2024

    Coming Spring of 2024,The Center for Linguistic Exploration's mission is dedicated to equipping students with a profound mastery of the Mandarin language. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that graduating students achieve a proficiency level of 1 to 2+ on the ILR Speaking Proficiency scale. This accomplishment will enable them to qualify for acceptance into federally funded Chinese Flagship Programs at esteemed U.S. universities. And that is not all; If students are able to meet all other academic admission requirements, they will have the opportunity to access grants and scholarships to support their higher education pursuits.

    However, our vision extends beyond the confines of the classroom. The Center surpasses traditional learning experiences by offering students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Mandarin-speaking countries. In these settings, they will have unique prospects to study diplomacy and intern with local organizations while earning multiple globally recognized language certifications. This pioneering initiative, the first of its kind offered by a college preparatory educational institution, is designed to prepare our students for extraordinary success in their future careers. We firmly believe that this multifaceted approach will significantly enhance their prospects in the global government and business sectors.

    Programs & Opportunities

    Pasadena City College Credit Duel Enrollment Course

    The following credit-bearing courses are available for participants in the program.

    • CHIN 001-002 Elementary Chinese (mandarin) - level 1 & 2 - 5 units each course

    • CHIN 003-004 Intermediate Chinese (mandarin) - level 1 & 2 - 5 units each course

    • CHIN 005 advanced Chinese Reading and Composition - level 3 & AP - 3 units

    P.S.: 5 unit courses = 3.5 hours x 2 day/ wk (7 hours/week for 16 weeks = 112 total hours)

    3 unit courses = 1 hour 25 minutes x 2/wk

    Additional Certifications of Achievement

    Colleges and universities typically encourage language certifications demonstrating a high proficiency level in Mandarin Chinese. While specific preferences may vary from one institution to another, our well-recognized Mandarin language program will offer students the best certificates and proficiency exams that can bolster student college admission application, including the following:

    • The Global Seal of Biliteracy recognizes students who have attained a certain level of proficiency in two or more languages. It is a powerful honor that will help you earn college scholarships, receive admittance into study abroad programs, and access significant career opportunities.

    • Chinese Proficiency Test-HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) & YCT (Youth Chinese Test): The HSK is a standardized test of Chinese language proficiency recognized worldwide. Colleges often look favorably upon high HSK scores. YCT, an international standardized test for Chinese language proficiency, assesses primary and secondary school students’ abilities to use Chinese as a second language in their daily and academic life.

    • ACTFL OPIc (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages - Oral Proficiency Interview Computer): The ACTFL OPIc assesses a student's spoken language skills in Mandarin. Colleges consider your OPIc score as evidence of oral proficiency.

    Learning Abroad

    • The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) Chinese Flagship Program will offer a ten-day Mandarin Immersion Program and Experience in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Students will live in on-campus housing and be taught by UHM Chinese faculty. This will be an unforgettable, immersed experience full of learning and cultural exploration. Pending receipt of funding, students will pay only for airfare and food; housing and tuition will be subsidized. Students will attend this workshop as part of the final requirements for the program certificate. Participation is limited to 15 students/year, with priority given to 11/12th graders.

    • Semester Learning Abroad—Study in a country in which Mandarin is the primary language; Live with a host family, and use Edgenuity (Lasalle's online platform) to keep current with LSCP courses that aren't taught in the target country. (Cost to be determined.)

    • Other Potential Summer Mandarin Immersion Experiences
      • Chinese Language Institute (Taipei, Taiwan)

      • Concordia Language Villages (Minnesota, USA): Offers Chinese language immersion programs in a summer camp setting.

    Cord at Graduation— Additional Recognition After Completion of Certificate Requirements:

    • Students can enroll in the Chinese Medical Terminology course taught at the CARLOW Center to earn additional recognition for both the Medical and Linguistics Exploration pathways. This would qualify the student for having completed the equivalent of a capstone project (see below).
    • Completion of Capstone Project: Students can design a project in consultation with the faculty of the Center, and upon satisfactory completion of the project and presentation of their work, earn the additional recognition of the cord at graduation.

    Coursework & Skills

    The La Salle Center for Medical Innovation Pathway will include:

    Language Learning Apps that offer engaging and interactive ways to learn, Mandarin podcasts, Language Exchange Partners for daily interaction, Vocabulary Games, and Mandarin TV Shows and Movies allow students to see and hear words used in context. Social media in Mandarin exposes students to contemporary language use cultural experiences like cooking Chinese dishes, participating in traditional celebrations, or visiting Mandarin-speaking communities to immerse in the language and culture, and Virtual Reality (VR) Language Learning engages students in virtual environments.

    • Mastering Pinyin
    • Tone Practice
    • Vocabulary & Grammar Foundation
    • Listening Skills
    • Reading & Writing Comprehension
    • Cultural Awareness

        Mastering Pinyin

        Pinyin is a system that spells Chinese names and words with the Latin alphabet based on pronunciation. In Mandarin Chinese, it means 'spell sound'. It can be a really useful tool to help you learn the correct pronunciation of Mandarin words. By learning Pinyin, students will pronounce words correctly, essential for speaking and writing.

        Tone Practice

        In Mandarin Chinese, tones distinguish words from each other in the same way that consonant and vowel combinations are in English. One is an important aspect of the Chinese language because it can change the meaning of a word or phrase. In Chinese, words are made up of characters, and they are pronounced differently depending on the tone used. There are four main tones in Chinese: the first tone, the second tone, the third tone, and the fourth tone. Each of these tones has a different pitch and intonation, which can change the meaning of a word.

        Advanced Vocabulary & Grammar Foundation

        Developing a solid base in vocabulary and grammar within an immersive educational setting is imperative for achieving proficiency in Mandarin. Regular study sessions, persistent practice, and regular exposure to the language contribute significantly to students' linguistic competence. It is vital to comprehend distinctive sentence structures, word arrangement, and grammatical principles, while simultaneously contrasting them with one's native tongue in order to facilitate effective communication. This groundwork enhances linguistic aptitude and fosters a deeper appreciation of the culture, thereby enabling more profound and meaningful interactions in Mandarin.

        Listening Skills

        Developing proficient listening skills in Mandarin is crucial for achieving language fluency. Consistently engaging with native speakers through a variety of resources, including podcasts, videos, apps, and virtual reality, enhances comprehension and familiarizes students with the genuine flow of the language. This not only enhances their listening capabilities but also enhances their cultural awareness. Acquiring mastery over the rhythm and subtleties of spoken Mandarin is essential for effective communication and a genuine appreciation of the culture.

        Reading & Writing Comprehension

        The comprehension of written text is a fundamental aspect of language proficiency, particularly in the context of acquiring proficiency in Mandarin. This process entails a gradual progression from simpler texts to more intricate ones. Additionally, the refinement of writing skills is an essential component of Mandarin language acquisition. This process commences with the mastery of basic strokes, enabling students to construct the fundamental components of Chinese characters. Beginning with familiar characters, learners advance towards more intricate ones, progressively cultivating the ability to accurately form each character and comprehend its significance.

        Cultural Awareness

        Cultural awareness is a fundamental component in acquiring Mandarin language proficiency, as it enhances one's comprehension of Chinese traditions and protocols. This augments linguistic abilities, enabling learners better to understand contextual cues and subtle nuances within conversations. Moreover, it cultivates an environment of respectful and productive communication with native speakers, mitigating the risk of cultural misinterpretations and fostering cross-cultural appreciation.

        Roadmap To Certification

        Upcoming Trips

        This program aims to immerse high school students in an intensive and enriching experience focused on Chinese language and culture. Participants will experience the UHM Chinese Flagship pathway to college and a future career. Through interactive classes, cultural activities, immersive experiences, and excursions to sites of cultural interest in Hawai‘i, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese language, history, and traditions while engaging in cross-cultural exchange and global interaction.

        Tentative program duration: 7-10 days (Sunday, May 26–Tuesday, June 4, 2024)

        Mandarin Flagship Partnership Universities:

        (College Scholarships are available for Highly Proficient Students.)

        1. Arizona State University
        2. Brigham Young University
          1. https://chineseflagship.byu.ed...
        3. San Francisco State University
        4. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
        5. University of Oregon
          1. https://chineseflagship.uorego...
        6. University of Washington

        Center Director
        Tina Wang

        Tina Wang holds a Master's degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience teaching Chinese at K-16 levels internationally. She has taught in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Additionally, Tina Wang has several years of administrative experience, leading numerous outstanding Chinese language programs, including immersion initiatives. She can be reached at:

        Prospective La Salle College Preparatory students contact the La Salle Admissions Office at for additional information.


        La Salle College Preparatory was founded in 1956. Today, we are the only truly diverse and co-educational Catholic high school in Pasadena.