Springfield, Ohio – As each academic year draws to a close, many college students face uncertainty about what to do during the summer months. Jobs, vacations and summer classes are among the most popular options.
Ian Chadd, Wittenberg University class of 2013 from Xenia, Ohio, faced no such dilemma this year. In hopes of furthering his education in a significant way after being selected for a United States Department of State 2011 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), Chadd will attend an intensive language institute in Shanghai, China, where he will study Mandarin Chinese. The program begins with an orientation in Washington, D.C., on June 10, and he boards his return flight from China on Aug. 7.
After learning of the scholarship opportunity from Howard Choy, associate professor of languages, Chadd applied in November 2010. After multiple rounds of reviews and final consideration by members of the United States Department of State, Chadd was informed of his acceptance in February.
“My language institute is hosted at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics through Global Alliance, an independent study abroad program focusing on China and India,” Chadd said. “I will take only language classes for approximately 20 hours per week in China. Along with the intensive instruction I will receive, I am required to sign a language pledge, which means I am to only speak Mandarin for my tenure in the program.”
The CLS will also provide him with experience in Chinese culture during several planned excursions to local sites, which will culminate in a five-day trip to a selected cultural site in China.
“I’m very excited to participate in this opportunity, though I am also a bit nervous,” Chadd said. “The language pledge makes me especially nervous, since I have never been forced to speak Chinese 24/7 before for a long period of time. However, I know that this policy is the best way to truly reach proficiency.
“I’ve been to China before, but this was only for a short period during a summer choir tour with a group I was in during high school, so this opportunity will really be my first true opportunity to fully embrace the culture and language.”
A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the CLS Program offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in 13 critical need foreign languages for summer 2011. The selection process was administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors were encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
Taking advantage of the many opportunities Wittenberg has to offer, Chadd carries a heavy load both in and out of the classroom with majors in both economics and math, and minors in East Asian studies, Chinese and political science. He’s involved in theatre where he was a cast member in As You Like It in February, and he will serve as president of the Wittenberg Choir for the 2011-2012 academic year.
“For the future, I hope to go to grad school in economics on a Ph.D. track,” Chadd said. “Ideally, I would specialize in behavioral economics, specifically looking at decision-making in different cultures. I’d like to conduct behavioral research in Asia in the near future, which is one of the motivations for learning Mandarin Chinese.”
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
Photo By: Erin Pence