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Western Kentucky University

Chinese Flagship Program 中文领航

Photograph: Allie Surina


Student Profile--Allie Surina


1. What is your degree and major?

Bachelor of Arts: Mathematics/Economics double major


2. Why did you choose to study Chinese?

I chose to learn Chinese so that I can work directly with Chinese researchers to study economic development in China’s urban centers.


3. What specifically led you to choose the Flagship Program?

I chose the Flagship Program because the instruction pace and content are suited for people who need to use the language in the working world, rather than for people who want to learn about the culture as an end goal. Additionally, the program coordinators are embedding my language learning within my personal career framework so that every Flagship-related opportunity moves me closer to my larger goals.


4. What are the most rewarding things about flagship?

The most rewarding things about Flagship are marking progress through each language level, and building a core group of friendships through the intensive classroom atmosphere.


5. How has your Flagship Program set you apart from other students? What advantages has the program given you?

When professors and other students hear about the goals and details of the Flagship Program, they usually are surprised that such a forward-thinking program exists, and that there are students willing to sign up for the challenge. I have earned a lot of respect from professors who think that Chinese is mostly “unlearnable” for Americans. Through the Flagship Program I have traveled to China twice and am able to network with Chinese people in my own community at home. Between some cultures there are old walls that are difficult to cross. With China and the United States, the culture, history and language of China is that wall. Learning Chinese has given me an opportunity to understand and learn from a culture that was previously a mystery to myself, and my community.


6. How has The Language Flagship helped you to discover your role in the world?

Representing the Language Flagship has given me an opportunity to serve as a culture-translator between the United States and China. I find that people at my school and in my community often ask me questions about the future of China and how things are on the ground there. I enjoy helping people to understand the Chinese point of view in the context of American culture, and I now hope to serve the United States government in some capacity with my research.


7. What are your career goals?

I plan to go to graduate school to study development, governance and public choice. I hope to be a professor in a research university with strong ties to Asian economic development, and would like to work in conjunction with agencies such as the World Bank or the Brookings Institution.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14