When I was first applying to college I did not really know what I wanted to major in, but I did know I wanted to learn a new language. I love languages because they can tell you so much about a culture. I had taken Spanish in high school, but I knew that going to college was my only chance to challenge myself. Since at the time I was an engineering major, I thought that learning Mandarin (普通话）would be helpful in my career.
While stepping into the class was intimidating, I fell in love. My teacher was amazing and sweet and it only became gradually harder. I look back at my level 1 book and can’t believe how easy it was. But, at the time this was all completely new and difficult. I loved that class, it ended up being my smallest class (engineering prereq classes are pretty big) and I made friends that continued into beginning Chinese II with me. Flash forward to now, I just completed my second year of Chinese classes. It has been one of my hardest and favorite classes. Sadly, I will not be able to continue taking Chinese after this summer, because the education program I am in is too rigorous that I don’t want to add the extra stress, but I am very excited for this summer!
Why study abroad?
I knew by the time I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to study abroad. That has always been a no brainer. When I began my Chinese classes, it just fit that I would study abroad there. But, I did not go last summer because I needed to work to pay for school. Which meant I did not practice anything that I had learned. When the school year started back up and I started my elementary level Chinese class, I was totally behind. A few of the students in my class had studied abroad in Chengdu (the trip I am going on), and they were completely prepared. They did not just retain their knowledge from the year before, but actually learned even more. I knew then that I needed to go, too. Studying in China not only allows me to cement what I have learned the past two years while in class, but forces me to incorporate this knowledge in daily life.
I also excited to look at this from an education perspective. Since I am an education major, I am not just interested in what I learn but how it’s taught. I can experience different teaching methods that I can incorporate into my style as an educator.