CET Kunming Program
Up one level
Aimee Pizarchik

Liberal Arts Major(s): Chinese
Other Major: Security and Risk Analysis
Minor: Asian Studies
Hometown: Apollo, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

Studying Chinese in a completely immersive environment was absolutely life-changing. There is truly so much to be learned through human interaction, and the connections formed through the commonality of language. Breaking down the language barrier opened my eyes to a world that I would have otherwise never experienced. My time abroad entirely shifted my worldview, and that is what I cherish most about my time in Kunming.

My time abroad entirely shifted my worldview, and that is what I cherish most about my time in Kunming.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Prior to my time in Kunming, I had studied Chinese extensively, but was not very confident in my skill level, particularly my speaking ability. However, spending two months under a language pledge has taken my fluency to new heights. In fact, sometimes I find myself speaking in Chinese more naturally than English!

How will this experience impact your career goals?

Taking my language skills closer to near-native fluency has opened up so many doors in my life. Reaffirming my love for language study has led me for the first time to seriously consider pursuing a postgraduate degree. That being said, should I choose not to, I am now confident my language abilities are sufficient enough to take me anywhere.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

In a world where liberal arts degrees at times are scoffed at, it is all too easy to become discouraged and choose something more "practical." Had I never encountered Paterno Fellows, perhaps I would have done just that. Thankfully, this program has confirmed for me what I had known all along: there is something of great importance to be had from studying the liberal arts and humanities. I am grateful that the Paterno Fellows Program has given me the means and motivation to continue pursuing my passions.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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