Chinese: A Much-Appreciated Oasis of Cheer and Playful Energy

Linnea Johnson smiling in front of a tree and water.

Linnea Johnson ’13

Major: Asian Studies and Geography

Award: Critical Language Scholarship; Boren Scholarship

Study Abroad Program: Jilin University, China

One of the most satisfying and fulfilling elements of my undergraduate experience at Mount Holyoke has been studying Chinese. I say this without hesitation for numerous reasons.

First, Chinese class is FUN! It has always been a highlight of my semester. On any given day, we might get the chance to sing songs, debate, do skits, or make movies. I’ve always been a fan of hands-on, fully engaged learning and every Chinese class I’ve had at MHC has been a perfect example of that.

Secondly, during my first and second years at Mount Holyoke, studying for dictation (believe it or not) became an almost meditative and relaxing ritual. Yay for MHC Chinese/Chinese learning! 

Aside from adding a much-appreciated oasis of cheer and playful energy to my daily life, studying Chinese at Mount Holyoke has also largely shaped who I am and the path I’m taking as I move forward. This leads me to my third reason. Studying Chinese has given me a new vantage point from which to observe the world and a meaningful tool with which to effectively engage it.  That’s pretty sweet, and unsurprisingly, from the encouraging and supportive environment at MHC, my interest in the Chinese language grew from its contained and humble beginnings to a much larger and broader interest in (some might say obsession with) all things China.

In conclusion, I am honored to receive the Mount Holyoke Chinese language award and am beyond grateful for the years of unwavering support from the Asian Studies department that this award represents to me. Thank you for the award MHC Chinese program, but more importantly, thank you for launching me into my future—for being the impetus to my “first step” of what will be a stimulating and rewarding thousand-mile journey