When President Obama welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao to the White House on Wednesday, he was joined by a group of students from Washington, D.C.’s Yu Ying Public Charter School. It’s a Chinese-language immersion elementary school ”” the first in the nation’s capital and one of only a handful in the United States.
Interest in learning Chinese has surged in the past decade as American economic ties to China have deepened. A growing number of elementary and high schools are offering Chinese classes ”” though few teach it as intensively as Yu Ying in the northeast D.C. neighborhood of Brookland.
Housed in a former convent, the school’s 240 students alternate school days learning in entirely Chinese and English.