21 June 2018
Take a look at what a few of our student ambassadors have been up to this quarter!
Noah Fitch 费诺, 18
“Just hang on!” advises Noah Fitch, speaking to a local elementary school class about his experience learning Chinese. Having studied the language for 12 years, he often shares this counsel with his younger counterparts who are just starting their Mandarin journey. Although studying Mandarin can be an exceptionally long-term commitment, Noah feels that the reward of a strong, thorough understanding of Chinese culture can’t be understated. He says, “Learning Mandarin since Kindergarten has involved me in their language and culture for a long time and has helped me understand it well.”
Noah first became interested in Chinese because of its utility. He understood the importance of US-China relations and the need to bridge perceived differences between the two countries. Having spent a month at Wanxiang Polytechnic University in Hangzhou through the Chicago Public School Confucius Institute, Noah had this to say: “Now understanding much more of how China functions, what the people are like, and how successful their economy is, I definitely see myself working with them in the future.”
Noah is a junior at Jones College Preparatory High School in Chicago where he grew up. He joined the US-China Strong Student Ambassador Program as a nominee of the Chicago Public School Confucius Institute. He enjoys math and science and is interested in pursuing electrical engineering as well as business management in the future. He hopes to become a successful innovator in electronics and modern technology, and aims to achieve fluency in Mandarin because he sees China as one of the leading countries in technology and trade.
Jerrica Harris, 19
When Jerrica Harris first picked up Mandarin, all she wanted was to be able to communicate with her family in Taiwan. After studying Mandarin for two semesters at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), she is now pursuing a minor in Chinese language and is the President of the Confucius Institute Program at XULA, which nominated her to be a Student Ambassador.
As a Student Ambassador, she participated in the annual Cultural Night at Xavier and worked at the Confucius Institute table to invite more students to sign up for the Chinese classes offered at XULA. She also recently hosted a block party to celebrate the Lunar New Year, where she and her classmates even performed a traditional Chinese song and dance.
Jerrica is now a pre-dental student majoring in Biology at XULA and minoring in Chinese and Chemistry. Originally from Biloxi, Mississippi, she hopes to be able to communicate fluently in Chinese one day. “She is extremely self-motivated and capable of achieving any goal she sets her mind to,” says her Chinese professor. In the future, Jerrica hopes to combine her passions by opening her own dental practice and doing mission trips to China to help with dental issues.
Jessica Yan 严婕西, 18
The daughter of immigrants from China, Jessica Yan has always had a fondness for the country – “it’s my heritage, my history, my roots,” she says. Over time, she realized that learning the language was the only way to truly understand the culture. This recognition has motivated her pursuit to achieve fluency in Mandarin for the past eleven years.
Jessica joined the US-China Strong Foundation’s Student Ambassador Program as a nominee of the American Councils for International Education, which supported her six-week study abroad trip to the Nanjing University Institute of International Students. Her time in China inspired her to maintain her study of Chinese, perhaps by adding it as a minor in college. “After spending extended amounts of time with the people I met in China,” she recalls, “I recognized the enormous value in continuing my studies of Mandarin through college.”
Jessica is currently a student at Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona. She plans to study applied mathematics and economics with a concentration in international economics and foreign languages. Though she is still exploring her potential career goals, she knows that her interests in economics and China will undoubtedly play a role.