by Elise Goitia '18
This summer, Eunice Shek ‘18 is studying Chinese language and culture at the National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan with the help of the Critical Languages Study (CLS) scholarship.
The competitive and prestigious scholarship is funded by the U.S. Department of State to offer undergraduate and graduate students the chance to study critical languages abroad over the summer.
"It's pretty amazing, because a whole lot of great aspects of study abroad are included in it," Shek said before leaving for her experience. "I'll stay with a host family, study Chinese while being immersed in Taiwanese culture, and see a part of the world that I've never been to before."
Through this scholarship, Shek said she was looking forward to exploring Taiwan, trying new foods and meeting new people.
While at Knox, Shek has also studied abroad in Japan and Ireland. She was in the first cohort of recipients from the Diversity Abroad organization, and was given the Overseas Ambassador Scholarship for future plans.
The goal of the CLS scholarship is to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, and to build relationships between the U.S. and other countries. CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the U.S. at all levels of language learning.
"I've wanted to improve my Chinese for a while," she commented. "It was mostly a matter of finding the best way to do it. Having grown up exposed to both Chinese and American culture, studying abroad has always been something I've wanted to do."
Studying abroad in Asia, Shek added, is especially important for her post-graduation goals.
"I'd like to go into a translation career, specializing in Chinese and Japanese, so the more familiar I am with those languages and cultures, the better," she said. "This will be my first time going to Taiwan. I'm excited to see what the differences will be."
Shek credits Knox's resources with allowing her to study abroad and explore her studies experientially, with many opportunities to gain background knowledge of the countries in which she studied, both in terms of academics and extracurriculars.
"I've gotten to hear students' and international students' experiences of studying abroad in other parts of the world," she commented. "Knox faculty have also been really supportive of my academic goals. A huge part of my preparation for studying in Taiwan comes from my previous study abroad—I definitely wouldn't be the same without it."