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Potomac, Maryland program, the nation’s first public Mandarin immersion school, still going strong

Chinese language programs link students to culture

ABBY MERGENMEIER
Associated Press

Ever since Beibei Sun moved to the United States to attend college, she knew she wanted to hold on to her Chinese roots.

Now that she has two children, she has found the best way to do that is by teaching them how to speak her first language.

Sun, who lives in Potomac, is one of many parents in the Montgomery County area who want their children to learn another language not only for future employment and travel opportunities, but also to keep their heritage alive.

“When you learn a new language, especially in Chinese, you have to learn where the words come from so you learn a lot about the Chinese culture,” Sun said.

Thirty-four percent of Montgomery County’s population is foreign-born. Of the seven districts that make up the county, two are more populated with Chinese-born people than any other nationality, according to a Capital News Service analysis.

The large Chinese presence has had multiple effects in the surrounding area, including in the schools.

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