Sara Lam

Sara Lam

Class of 2009
Winner of Irene He Yuan Chinese-American Language Award

Friendship means truly valuing the relationship you have with one another and understanding them as a person no matter their race, gender, class, nationality or culture.  Being a friend requires the willingness to accept and learn about the qualities that distinguish them as individuals while gaining an understanding of various cultural perspectives. Although I had always been interested in Chinese culture, I did not discover my passion for it until I began attending Mount Holyoke College.  I am thankful for the knowledge, skill and understanding acquired through my various experiences here and the opportunities I have had to enhance my appreciation of Chinese culture.

Over the past few years, I have observed that using a language is a skill for communicating with people from another culture, thereby learning about that culture.  When I first started taking Chinese classes at Mount Holyoke College, I was inspired by my interest in the language to study the history of China and the culture of the Chinese people.  During the summer of 2007, through an intensive language study program offered by Mount Holyoke College, I travelled to Beijing to study Chinese at Beijing Language and Culture University and to immerse myself into the culture that is so important to my heritage. The opportunity to study abroad at BLCU in Beijing China allowed me to become more familiar with the culture in China and confirmed my passion for studying it.

At Mount Holyoke College I declared myself an Asian Studies major with a focus on China and I continued to enjoy studying Chinese language, history, art, politics and literature.  In the summer of 2008, I interned at Minjiang University in Fuzhou as an English language teacher to help local students improve their overall competency in English speaking and writing skills. Although teaching was a challenge, it was also a rewarding experience and I was extremely impressed with my students’ dedication to learning and improving their English. Their willingness to work hard was inspirational and I was continually thankful to absorb Chinese culture from my students while teaching them about American culture. My students were more to me than just students, they had become my friends. This experience taught me more about myself and I am confident that I will use my knowledge of Chinese culture and language to help many people in the future with cross cultural communication.