Monsalve, Nicholas



Name: Nicholas Monsalve


Language: Chinese

Location of Study: Beijing, China

Program of Study: Beijing Language Summer Program

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Liu Endowment

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A brief personal bio:

My name is Nicholas Monsalve-Vargas, and I am currently a first year student here at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to arriving to South Bend, I lived in Miami, Florida. I come from a Hispanic–Colombian–background. I am currently intend on double majoring in Finance and Economics as well as minoring in Chinese (Mandarin).

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

Although, taking Chinese is extremely difficult due to the fact that I have zero background in Mandarin like most of my colleagues, I do have a strong foundation in learning new languages in general. I grew up learning both English and Spanish in my household. I started learning my third language–Greek–at the age of five, and I have continued to practice Greek diligently. When I arrived to Notre Dame, I understood that I had a language background that was somewhat unique, so I decided that I wanted to expand the amount of people I could communicate with as well as understand even more cultures; it was at that moment that I decided to start studying Mandarin.

I want to attain a four year equivalent grasp of the Chinese language. However, I also want to start Arabic as an undergraduate here at Notre Dame. The SLA Grant is essential to completing my academic goals as stated above. The grant will allow me to complete my second year of Chinese during the summer, and, I will therefore complete four years of Chinese by the end of my junior year which leaves my senior year open to studying Arabic.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

What millions of individuals that have taken another language understand is that one can attain a stronger grasp of the language if one learns the foreign language at the country of origin. I hope to take advantage of my time in China, so that I can exponentially increase my understanding as well as my linguistic skills of the Mandarin language. I have also recently grown to enjoy the Chinese culture as portrayed by the events planned by the Chinese Department here at Notre Dame; movie nights, Chinese speech contests, and dumpling making events have all contributed to my new admiration for the Chinese culture.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to recognize and write about 400 Chinese characters.

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to not only understand how to read complex texts, but I will also understand a myriad of culture specific elements of the Chinese culture.

3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate in Mandarin with others that understand the language at an intermediate level.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: