Beginning this summer, three University of North Georgia (UNG) students will study abroad in China as recipients of national Chinese scholarships.
Juniors David Hagler, Strauss Schoeman and Elisha Weber will spend a year at ZhieJiang Normal University in Jinhua, courtesy of Chinese Government Scholarships from the Consulate in Houston and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
"Earning these scholarships reflects the hard work, determination and time these students have put in to their studies. They, along with their mentors, are to be congratulated," said Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant dean of student research and scholarship at UNG.
Weber is a member of the Corps of Cadets and is majoring in both political science and Chinese. He said he is most looking forward to biking down the Great Wall of China this fall, as well as visiting the Forbidden City.
"Words cannot describe how excited I am to be travelling to China," Weber said. "The experience of living in China for roughly a year will go a long way toward helping me achieve my long term professional goals."
Weber and Hagler participated in UNG's Chinese Language Flagship Program, which is designed for undergraduate students who are highly interested in Chinese language and culture.
"While the program helps students gain a better understanding of everything Chinese, from the government and economy to the language and cultural differences, it also prepares them to take their place among the next generation of global professionals by bringing a superior level of proficiency in Chinese to their work and contributing their skills to U.S. competitiveness and national security," said Dr. Christopher Jespersen, dean of UNG's College of Arts and Letters.
Hagler was previously an art major, but the prospect of long-term job security led him to switch to a major in Chinese. His first trip to China will be for three weeks this summer before he returns in the fall for the new academic year.
"Being in a different environment will not only open up alternative worldviews, but also immerse me in a culture that is one of the oldest in the world," Hagler said. "I will be able to return home with a clearer understanding of our place in the world and how we as a nation fit into the international community."
Schoeman is a computer science major who plans to tutor Chinese students in English while in China. This fits well with his plans of joining the Peace Corps and becoming an English teacher in China after graduation.
Hagler, Schoeman and Weber are the third, fourth and fifth UNG students to have been awarded this type of scholarship.
"Student successes like these verify that the UNG community is committed to creating and supporting global leaders," Lin said. "Through hard work and dedication, these students will be able to come back to the UNG community more knowledgeable and with a better worldview that they will be able to share with us here in our own community."