(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 14, 2022
Ramapo College student Michelle Ta ’23 received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Mandarin Chinese at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), in Tainan, Taiwan. Michelle, a Paramus, N.J., native majoring in International Business, was the first Ramapo student to receive the prestigious award.
Michelle recently arrived back home after spending the summer in Taiwan and was happy to share her experience.
Please tell us about your trip.
No doubt, it was the best experience of my life. I was able to meet so many amazing and inspiring people, as well as learn many new skills that I never imagined possible in such a short amount of time. Although the program is definitely more intense than any of us could have prepared for, my classmates agreed that we definitely learned more than one year of Mandarin in the span of two months. We also got the opportunity to explore the language and culture first hand rather than learning from a textbook.
Why did you choose to study Mandarin?
I started studying Mandarin when we had to stay home during the height of the pandemic. I just studied for fun with no language goals in mind until I found out about CLS. I applied for the scholarship because I wanted to have an immersion experience with Mandarin. After my experience in Taiwan, I became very inspired and motivated to take Mandarin more seriously and perhaps integrate it more into my studies.
How will your experience in Taiwan benefit your studies in International Business?
My experience in Taiwan was very eye-opening in that I was able to communicate with people from a different part of the world. Although we can be very different, some of their ideas and values are similar to ours. It helped me realize that a lot of business practices that I learned from textbooks are now being applied to real world situations, and vice versa. After coming home, I can definitely relate and have a clearer understanding of class materials. My experience in Taiwan also allowed me to see how international business is done through the eyes of Taiwanese people. This knowledge will be beneficial if I get an opportunity to work in Taiwan in the future.
What are your career plans after graduation in spring 2023?
For now, I will continue working for a logistics company, but I am open to other international work or study opportunities, specifically in Taiwan, because I would love to go back and learn more about the people and culture.
What advice can you give other students who wish to pursue this line of study?
For other International Business students, studying abroad will definitely help with self-discovery and also expand your view on business practices around the world. So, whether it is only for one month or for a whole semester, definitely take the opportunity to study abroad because there is so much you can learn being immersed in a completely different environment that you won’t be able to find in any textbooks.
Each summer, CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages that are critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity, said Dean Chen, Chair/Convener of the Department of Political Science in the School of Humanities and Global Studies at Ramapo College and the Director of the Office of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships. “CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing U.S. values and promoting U.S. influence abroad. We are so proud of and happy for Michelle for receiving this great award and recognition.”
The CLS Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is a study abroad opportunity for U.S. college and university students to learn languages essential to U.S. engagement with the world. Student participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
About Ramapo College
Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.
Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.
Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels. Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market.
Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
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