Learning Chinese becomes popular

Reported Ginny Parker, when Yuki Sasaki began working in the Japanese-language program at the University of Georgia in 1995, most students were international business majors. These days, the serious business types aren't focusing on Japanese; they are studying Chinese instead.

These are people like Patrick Henry, 21, a UGA undergrad from Norcross, Georgia, who feels China is the next big thing. "That's where the money's going to be," he says.

According to the Modern Language Association, an organization of scholars promoting the study of languages and literature, both Japanese and Chinese are gaining popularity among U.S. students. In the fall of 2002, the number of students studying Japanese in U.S. institutions of higher education rose to 52,238, a jump of 21 percent over 1998, when the previous survey was conducted. There were 34,153 students studying Chinese, an increase of 20 percent. (Source: Ginny Parker, The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2004).

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