2013-14 Students' Introduction

My name is Garrett, or 盖盈力(Gai4 Ying1Li4) in Chinese. I am from Washington D.C., born and raised. Surprisingly I am one of 3 students on this year’s trip that are from D.C. although none of us 3 knew each other prior to the pre­departure orientation in New York. This
year would have been my senior year in high school. I have been on three trips to mainland China in the past three years, totaling about 3 months spent in China. My most recent trip to China was through the NSLI-­Y summer program, during which I spent six weeks in Shanghai.
That was one of the most fun trips of my life, and that coupled with my love of learning Chinese and of Chinese culture led me to apply for the academic year program through NSLI­-Y. I have studied a total of about 4 years of Chinese, but I still have a long way to go if I want to achieve
some kind of fluency, which I hope I will by the end of this year. I hope to study international business and affairs in college, specifically focused on China and Taiwan because of my Chinese knowledge.

My name is Samantha (or 柯珊玉), and I am from Washington, DC. I recently graduated from the Maret School in Washington, DC, and am looking forward to attending Washington University in St. Louis after the conclusion of this gap year. After not being interested in French and Spanish classes throughout my childhood, I decided to begin studying Chinese in high school because all of the language teachers talked about how difficult it is and I wanted something new and challenging. As it turns out, this was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I studied in Beijing for a month one summer with a program that my school’s Chinese class participated in, and since then I have been trying to figure out when and how I would get to have another experience abroad. The National Security Language Initiative was the perfect option! I am so happy that I am taking a gap year and doing this program in Kaohsiung in particular.

Besides language learning, I am very interested in politics and international affairs, biology, and environmental science and policy. I love music and photography, and, although I cannot continue this while in Kaohsiung, I have been a competitive equestrian for my whole life. 

In addition to improving my Chinese language abilities, I am also looking forward to establishing meaningful relationships with my new Taiwanese family and with friends, adventuring around Taiwan, and taking advantage of all that Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and Kaohsiung have to offer.

I just finished 11th grade in Dayton, Ohio and am much honored to have received this State Department scholarship to study in Taiwan for a year! I have studied Chinese for about five years at my school in the U.S. Originally, I took an interest in Chinese because it is the language of the world’s most populous nation and I believe conversational Mandarin skills would open up doors in the business world. My school has several Chinese exchange students and for the past few years I have had daily conversations with them in Mandarin. When it came time to apply for the NSLIY program, I knew I just had to select Chinese as my first choice! 
During high school, I enjoyed playing tennis on my school’s team. I also had an interest in debate, model United Nations and played competitive chess. In college, I am planning on pursuing the hard sciences or engineering and economics. I hope to eventually work in investment banking or trading.

Hi all! My name is Emily Kuntz or 康爱莉 in Mandarin. I am from Ithaca, a small city in upstate New York. Ithaca is surrounded by beautiful gorges and Cayuga Lake. It is also home to Cornell University. I have many friends from Ithaca High School that come from all over the world because their parents work at Cornell. I have many friends that are from China, when I started taking Mandarin, I would practice speaking Mandarin with them and their parents. 

I studied Spanish in school, and went to public high school in Costa Rica for a little while. I was also an exchange student in France through Rotary over the summer, when I was sixteen. I really love being able to speak other languages I believe it is a great accomplishment.
I had a wonderful Chinese teacher in High School. She introduced me to the NSLI-Y program and suggested I apply. I was extremely happy when I was accepted because I always dreamed about making friends abroad and being proficient in another language. Mandarin is also a very interesting language to know and I hope to use it in my future profession. 

I am excited to spend the next 9.5 months or so in Kaohsiung, Taiwan working towards my goal of improving my Mandarin and making some nice friends. I really enjoy my host family, they are very welcoming and fun.

Hi there! I’m Mikayla, currently 18 years old, and currently a participant on the NSLI-Y 2013/14 Taiwan Year program….but you probably already knew that.

During my previous time on Earth, I was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and lived there for long enough to pick up an enduring appreciation for Southern accents and sweet tea. After grade 10, I picked up and moved to Singapore to become a boarding student at the United World College of South East Asia, which also happens to be the school I graduated from this past May. In Singapore, in addition to becoming addicted to pearl milk tea, I was also able to study Chinese for two years- which was just about long enough to master 你好 (hello).

Needless to say, my Chinese has a long ways to go. I’m looking forward to becoming proficient in both Taiwan’s language and culture during the next 10 months! After my gap year, I plan on studying some sort of policy/engineering combination at MIT.

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