Name: Chiara Smorada
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:
Hello! My name is Chiara Smorada and I am a freshman at Saint Mary’s College (class of 2020). Home for me is Kennett Square, PA. Over the next five years, however, South Bend, IN will be my home. Currently enrolled in the five-year dual degree Chemistry and Chemical Engineering program, I also plan to pursue a minor in Chinese and math. Beyond academics I enjoy ice dancing, tang soo do karate, and traveling.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
About eighteen years ago I was found on the steps of a police station in Anhui, China. Since then I have been adopted into an American family defined by love rather than blood. Yet, even though I have grown up in America, there is a part of me that still feels deeply linked to China. In turn, I have been drawn to Chinese culture for as long as I can remember. I promised myself that I would eventually travel to China. Once I arrived at college I almost gave up my determination to study abroad (or to even study Chinese) because of the dual-degree program’s rigid and demanding curriculum. When I heard about the Beijing Summer Program and the SLA Grant I was ecstatic and decided to seize the opportunity. Now, thanks to the SLA Grant I have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to embark on a life-changing journey in a foreign country. Without the SLA Grant I would not have been able to consider studying abroad this summer. I am tremendously appreciative to the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and the Liu Endowment for giving me the opportunity to continue my language studies abroad.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
This summer, I hope to dream in Chinese. While also being immersed in a culture I have longed to explore, I intend to improve my Chinese proficiency to a point where I can independently travel around China. Additionally, I expect to witness, rather than just read about, Chinese culture. I want to experience new ways of thinking and to observe and participate in a lifestyle very different from my own. The language pledge will force me out of my comfort zone for my own benefit. Eventually I can overcome my timidity to enhance my speaking ability and communication skills in general. Lastly, I hope to learn more about myself and my roots through self-reflection and interaction with the Beijing community.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to confidently engage another native Chinese speaker in conversation.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to articulate my thoughts and opinions in Chinese while also teaching others about American culture.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read and discuss Chinese literature.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: