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NNU partnering on Chinese studies program

Northwest Nazarene University will offer Chinese language and culture classes in its new Center for Chinese Studies starting in August. NNU will have three instructors from China come to Idaho for two years and offer language and culture classes in Nampa and area high schools, as well as evening classes in Boise for professionals who want to do business in China.

The program is a partnership with Northwest University in Xi’an, one of the hundred biggest cities in the world, and Hanban Institute, a language program affiliated with the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education. Hanban has relationships with dozens of American schools, though the new arrangement with NNU is the first in Idaho.

The private university is also working on plans to offer Chinese language and cultural lessons to larger companies. Eric Kellerer, the school’s director of international relations, said that in addition to learning words and phrases, business leaders who want to do business in China should learn about customs, including the importance of gifts and business cards, and how to address people in different situations.

Kellerer said NNU previously offered language instruction in Cantonese, though not in Mandarin, the more common language that will now be taught. He said the partnership with Hanban could include offering travel grants for professionals or students enrolled in classes to visit China.

The Chinese faculty working for NNU will live in Idaho for two years, though Kellerer said he expects the partnership to continue.

“There’s no reason to believe it should stop, unless we don’t have students’ interest,” Kellerer said.

About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.