Name: Edward Kuhns
Location of Study: Beijing, China
Program of Study: Beijing Language Summer Program
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Liu Endowment
A brief personal bio:
My name is Ed Kuhns and I live in South Bend, Indiana. I was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I graduated from Breck School. I am a rising Sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, and I currently plan to major in the Program of Liberal Studies with minors in Business Economics and Chinese.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
My SLA Grant is important to me in that it will allow me to further my learning and knowledge of Chinese and Chinese culture, and it will allow me to truly experience the culture of China for the first time. While I have studied Chinese for the past five years, I have yet to visit China, and my SLA grant will allow me to do just that. I will see and experience first-hand a culture which I have studied for some time, and I will be able to transcend the boundaries of geography and culture that have stood between me and true language and cultural competency and understanding. The SLA grant will allow me to broaden my horizons in an exciting, challenging, and unique way, and I will thus be able to continue my education with a new and broadened perspective on the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Not only will my language abilities be brought to a new level, but I will have a greater sense of myself, my future career goals, and what I wish to make of the rest of my undergraduate career. Though I am still unclear as to my future career goals, I wish to incorporate travel, languages, and a cultural awareness in whatever it is I am to pursue, and because of this, my SLA Grant is crucial to my education and to my career plans as a whole.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Through my summer study abroad experience, I hope to gain proficiency in Chinese as well as a cultural awareness and understanding of China. This grant will not only allow me to reach a greater level of language ability, but it will also give me the opportunity to learn about a new and different culture, as well as learn more about myself and my own abilities and competencies. I hope to better my cultural awareness, as well as deepen my comfort with taking intercultural risks. I hope to broaden my horizons and my global perspective, and to use this acquired knowledge to pursue the rest of my undergraduate career with a new and more diversified perspective. In addition, I also hope to use this experience to identify and explore my academic interests, as well as my goals and plans in both my academics and future careers.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate comfortably in Mandarin Chinese with native speakers on topics concerning day to day life, travel, and academic interests.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to describe and understand the cultural, political, and economic concerns of the Chinese people, as well as how these concerns parallel and diverge from those of Americans.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to display a greater degree of comfort and ease in foreign travel, as well as communicating with those of another culture and background. I will be able to transcend my current comfort level in engaging in cultural and linguistic interactions, as well as taking intercultural risks.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
I plan to take full advantage of my international language study by allowing myself to take risks and leave my comfort zone in the learning of Chinese. I plan to actively engage in conversation with native speakers, and to participate in a myriad of different cultural experiences during my stay in Beijing. In addition, I plan to make a list of places I intend to visit before my departure, so that I am ready to make full use of my time in my host country. I plan to take my language classes extremely seriously while in Beijing so that I will be able to use my newly acquired language skills in my experiences outside of the classroom. I also plan to attempt to meet and converse with many of the Chinese students also studying at Peking University, as well as those living in my dorm there.