Student Profile--Tyler Prochazka
Tyler, a Junior International Affairs and Asian Religions and Cultures double major, just completed his second year in the Chinese Flagship. In addition to studying Chinese, Tyler writes for the university newspaper, The College Heights Herald, and competes nationally with the WKU Forensics speech and debate team. Tyler participated in an intensive summer program at the Flagship Chinese Institute at Indiana University in summer of 2012, and was selected for Princeton in Beijing's summer intensive Chinese program in 2013. He has earned multiple internal and external scholarships to fund his programs, including a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
What attracted you to the Chinese Flagship Program at WKU?
I had heard of the program before I came to WKU, and I was intrigued, but I had no idea how in-depth the Flagship program was. I had a preexisting interest in China regarding international affairs, but also an interest in language development. At the Honors College Retreat, H4, I learned how students each have their own tutor, how you take Chinese class everyday, etc. I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
What is your favorite thing about being in the Flagship?
I feel like I really matter as an individual. They spend so much time with me personally to make sure I'm really learning the language. In other courses it's easy to get lost in the shuffle, but the Flagship does such a good job on honing in on your needs to make sure that you are learning the language.
What keeps you motivated?
Even though I get stressed out, I continue to motivate myself because I really enjoy everything I do. If I did not have my calendar on my phone, I would be lost. There have been multiple occasions where that has saved my life. Without that I wouldn't be organized and it would be more difficult to stay motivated.
What are your career goals and how do you plan on incorporating Chinese into those goals?
My career goal is to work for the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer (FSO), because diplomacy is my general interest. I think we as a nation should focus more on diplomacy in International Affairs. I plan to utilize Chinese by focusing on China and request that area when applying to be an FSO.
What are the most rewarding things about Flagship?
I would say that you are given opportunities that you would not otherwise be given. For instance, attending the Flagship summer Chinese Institute (FCI) at Indiana University, potentially going to China this summer...not to mention the connections you make. I have received great help from the Office of Scholar Development (OSD) at WKU, from my teacher Liu laoshi. All of these connections are invaluable. I know I wouldn't have made them had I not been in Flagship.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences abroad or with Chinese.
Last summer at the FCI program at Indiana University, I was in a Chinese play. Just one year ago, I could have never imagined that I could sing or act, all in Chinese, without a single word of English. I understood everything! That was the most amazing experience I've had yet.
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