Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ni Hui Shuo Zhongwen Ma?

...Do You Speak Chinese

Following this post about Mandarin, here’s the article I was talking about:

More Americans are dunking their children in Chinese immersion classes and hiring Mandarin-speaking nannies in the hope of giving them a competitive edge as China imposes itself as an economic giant.
The trend is such that many schools across the country are unable to meet the growing demand for Mandarin Chinese. At Potomac Elementary School, near Washington, the Chinese immersion program launched in 1996 has become so popular that about 40 children are on a waiting list to join and several of the spots available each year are given through a lottery. About 18 percent of the students are of Asian origin.
While US schools rush to fill the growing demand for Chinese, the same trend is hitting companies that place nannies and au pairs who say they are being deluged with requests for Chinese speakers. In New York, Chinese nannies are in such demand that some can command a salary of $20,000 more than an average nanny would earn.
One nanny reportedly even managed to secure a $70,000-salary after a bidding war between two families. Agencies are also reporting a surge in the demand for Chinese au pairs.
Michael DiMauro, senior vice president for marketing at the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), which oversees Au Pair in America, said his company in the last year has received requests from about 1,400 families nationwide interested in hosting an au pair from China. So far, the company has only been able to provide two, but about 200 more are expected to arrive in the United States this year. "There is greater demand than supply," he told AFP. (China Daily).