Kate Dubois on Her Experience in URI’s Chinese Language Flagship Program

Kate Dubois is a junior double majoring in Chinese and international studies and diplomacy. Here she writes about her experience being in URI’s Chinese Language Flagship Program, one of thirteen unique programs in the United States where students can progress to fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

I’ve always had a passion for language study and exploring cultures other than my own. URI’s Chinese Language Flagship program provided me with a unique opportunity to not only explore and immerse myself in Chinese culture, but also to advance my Mandarin skills in a way I hadn’t thought was possible prior to joining. Additionally, the support, guidance, encouragement and passion of the Flagship teachers are, in my opinion, unparalleled by any language instructors I have previously encountered; they truly enrich every aspect of the program and were a strong factor in my decision to join the program.

Being a member of the Flagship program has been rewarding in a multitude of ways, the obvious being an expansive and accelerated increase in my Mandarin proficiency as well as a more complete and accurate understanding of Chinese culture. But a reward I hadn’t considered before is that of an expanded and more holistic view of our world. One of the tools the curriculum utilizes to teach Chinese grammar and structure is that of real-world, current topics that, regardless of your chosen discipline, have relations to all of us. It’s often said by those who study languages that the study of a new language brings along a new thought process, and this absolutely rings true for Flagship. Not only am I now able to intellectually debate and express my opinions in Mandarin, but through my studies I feel I have gained a greater outlook on the world, particularly in regards to the U.S./China relations that is truly invaluable.

For those who are passionate about languages or who find themselves attracted to Chinese culture and/or history, URI’s Chinese Language Flagship program could not be more appropriate. In terms of learning Mandarin, regardless of your level when you enter the program, you will be amazed at the progress you are able to achieve and in such a short amount of time. For those who love to travel and find Chinese culture fascinating, Flagship provides multiple study abroad opportunities allowing students to live, study and even work abroad. Even beyond this, the people you meet through the program will become some of your life long friends. It’s truly a program like no other and joining has been the best decision I have made in my undergraduate career.

Today’s job market is increasingly competitive, and as young people we are constantly having to innovate new ways of making ourselves stand out from the crowd to make us more appealing and marketable to potential employers. Flagship does exactly this. After completing the program we not only leave with a superior level of proficiency in Mandarin, but with experience working in China in our chosen discipline- this is truly significant in today’s job market and its importance cannot be stressed enough. Being that I am interested in international affairs and human rights work, having the ability to speak Mandarin and having the unique experience of working in China is imperative and provides me with the foundation and freedom to craft my own career path after graduation; it broadens the jobs I am able to apply for and makes me significantly more competitive in comparison to my peers.

You can connect with URI’s Chinese Language Flagship Program on Facebook or on Instagram.