Beginning Chinese Has Changed My Life Forever

Phuong Nguyen '17 jumping with friend in front of the great wall of China.

Phuong Nguyen ’17, on right, jumping for joy in front of the Great Wall of China.

Phuong Nguyen ’17

Academic focus: East Asian studies major and Theatre major

Study Abroad: MHC Beijing Summer Program

Awards: 2014 Five College Chinese Speech Contest

During my first year at Mount Holyoke College, I decided to take Chinese simply because I find the language quite interesting, not knowing my decision would affect both my academic and life decisions so much. Studying Chinese with one of the best teachers I have ever come across in my life, and learning so much more about China than just the language, I realized I had fallen in love with the professors, the language, and the subject. That was when I decided to choose East Asian Studies as my major.

The summer after my first year, thanks to the McCulloch Center, I spent two months at Peking University studying Chinese and had the best summer of my life. Not only did I get the chance to meet so many Mount Holyoke students with the same passion for Mandarin and Chinese culture as me, I also learned so much about the culture and lifestyles of Chinese people. At the end of the summer, I had advanced my language skills, and gained great friendships and a profound knowledge of the rich Chinese culture.

As a Theatre Arts major, my East Asian Studies was extremely helpful preparation for a future career in Costume Design in Asia. By living and studying in China, and studying Chinese theatre at Mount Holyoke with Professor Ying Wang, I was able to enhance my knowledge in an area that would be useful in my future career.

Choosing East Asian Studies has honestly been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The major aligns perfectly with my academic and professional interests and became a defining factor for me as a person. Because of Mount Holyoke's Asian Studies Program, I have been to places, I have met great people, including my peers and my teachers, and I have learned and grown so much as a person.