Name: Timothy Shen
Location of Study: Beijing, China
Program of Study: Beijing Language Summer Program
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Liu Endowment
Blog URL: http://sites.nd.edu/sla2016/author/tshen/
A brief personal bio:
Hi! My name is Timothy Shen. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Notre in the College of Arts and Letters. I am a Psychology major and plan on minoring in Chinese. I am a prehealth student and plan on attending medical school after graduating. I am the fourth of 8 children and have lived in San Diego, California just about all my life.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
The education in Chinese that I have received thus far at the University of Notre Dame is invaluable. I have learned a so much in such an intensive program, and can never adequately show my appreciation to my teachers. However, I feel as though the only way to really take what I have learned to the next level is through a completely immersive experience. In doing so I hope to gain the fluency and cultural competency necessary to interact with people casually. As I hope to one day be a doctor, mastery of this language and understanding of the culture will greatly expand the people that I am able to serve. Equally, if not more important is the ability to connect to people in general from backgrounds, which is something that is sure to be gained through NDiB. All of this is only possible because of what the SLA Grant has provided me.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
After coming out of this summer program I hope to be able to not just talk, but think in Chinese. I hope to be fluent enough that I am able to effortlessly communicate with other people. As it is, I can produce language to some extent, but it is not without a great amount of effort, and often just translating English to Chinese. Hopefully when I come out of the program, I will be able to not just translate between English and Chinese more fluently, but be able to directly translate my thoughts to Chinese, like a first language. I also hope to attain a greater level of cultural competency. This would mean being able to live in China with a deep understanding of both the people and their way of life.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to easily hold conversations with native Chinese speakers on a wide variety of topics.
- At the end of the summer, I will have a good understanding of Chinese cultural and better understanding of the political and government systems of China in comparison to the US.
- At the end of the summer, my overall language proficiency will be beyond the level that it would have been had I taken two further semesters at Notre Dame.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
In order to make the most of this amazing opportunity, I know that there will have to be a fair amount of planning done both before my arrival, as well as when I am there. After talking to students who have gone through the program in the past, I know that it carries a very rigorous academic agenda, extending far beyond the time spent in the classroom. I will be sure to go out of my way to talk to people unrelated to the program, not just to improve my language abilities, but to make important intercultural connections. I will also plan my time to make the most of the cultural excursions that we will be going on.