Saint Martin’s offers free Chinese language, culture camp

South Sound kids had a chance to practice some tai chi, learn to count in Chinese, create crafts and spend time with exchange students from China last week as part of a free day camp offered at Saint Martin’s University.

“I like the activities we get to do because you get to learn a lot,” said camper Savannah Pascoe, 10.

The program was organized through Saint Martin’s Office of International Programs and Development, and the classes were led by students from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Inner Mongolia University. They were at the private Lacey university for a summer cultural exchange program, according to program assistant Brenda Mueller.

“It’s just a great way for them to connect and learn about each others’ cultures,” she said.

About 60 children ages 5-12 participated in the camp, which featured calligraphy, language lessons and the martial art tai chi, which is also known as Chinese Kung Fu, according to Aimee Fei, 19, of the Shanghai University of Traditional Medicine.

She said she enjoyed interacting with the children.

“It’s a very good experience for me,” Fei said.

Joanna Chen, 25, helped lead a workshop about Chinese costumes, currency and food at the camp.

“I’m happy they’ll learn the culture of our country,” she said.

Mueller said Saint Martin’s received some great feedback about the camp from parents and students.