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Home>Articles>Special Report

How Chinese Has Changed My Life

Jenifer Guevara 2018-03-29

Learning Mandarin Chinese language and culture was the best thing that has happened to me. It is a challenge to learn Mandarin but I enjoy hearing the sounds and seeing the writing of Chinese characters; I think it is a beautiful language. It is a great opportunity to learn Chinese because it could become the world’s next Lingua Franca.

This is my first year at Texas Southern University, but I learned Mandarin Chinese through the Confucius Institute in my old high school for about 4 years. In the CI of my old high school, I won two scholarships to visit China for several weeks. I went to Harbin, China in winter 2012 and Beijing, China in summer 2013. While in high school Mandarin Chinese has also allowed me to participate in 4 local Chinese competitions. Every time I competed, the better I performed. I tutored Mandarin Chinese to middle school students in the summer of 2014. I really enjoyed this experience; it was fulfilling to see that I was teaching others a new language. I am very proud of those kids and myself as well, because I have come very far from learning the language. Chinese language has helped me build relations with others overseas. I had a host sister when I went to Harbin, and a year later, she came to Houston and I hosted her. In my visit to Beijing, I met people from the US Embassy, such as journalists, musicians, teachers, and lawyers.

When I found out that TSU had a Confucius Institute, I knew I had to get involved. I did not want to forget anything I had learned through my four years in high school, so I decided to enroll in the intermediate level Chinese course at TSU. The TSUCI is doing an excellent job at promoting the Chinese language and culture and giving students opportunities to study abroad. In the past months here with the TSUCI, I have been able to help other classmates with their Mandarin, attend US-China conferences, offered scholarships to study abroad for a semester or a year at Beijing Jiaotong University, and was granted the opportunity to participate in the “Chinese Bridge” competition at UT Dallas. The competition was fierce, but I am glad I was a part of it. I even sang a song in Chinese, and I have never sung in my life. I was very happy that this competition allowed me to open up more. I hope to participate next year. I am very happy for how far I have come with learning Chinese. I feel comfortable in Chinese places. I never saw myself going to China and learning Chinese, or promoting the language and culture. I am proud of my accomplishments. I hope to pursue a career as a visiting professor in China one day or work as a diplomat. Chinese has opened up many opportunities for me in the past, and will open more in the future.

我会努力学习来实现我的梦想!

The Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University

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