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Chinese Flagship Program Faculty and Staff - Ashleigh Cleary

Ashleigh Cleary

Ashleigh Cleary

Student Assistant for Recruitment and Retention

Office:  Honors College & International Center
Email:  ashleigh.cleary507@topper.wku.edu

Why did you choose to participate in the Chinese Language Flagship Program at WKU? 

The Chinese Language Flagship Program was the very thing that first drew me to WKU. I had always been interested in the culture and history of Asia for as long as I can remember, and I saw this program as a way to refine my interest and become more intimately involved in the region. In addition, the challenging curriculum and rigorous teaching style also intrigued me along with the inspiring stories that I had heard from current and former Flagship students about their time in the Flagship family.

How were your language skills impacted by participating in the Flagship Chinese Institute (FCI) over the summer?  

Due to my participation in FCI, my Chinese skills have far surpassed my wildest dreams. Looking back to my first semester of Chinese two years ago, I never would have thought that I could hold conversations about complex topics or understand Chinese dramas, but here I am! FCI was extremely helpful in giving me more exposure to the language in both casual and academic settings, so now I not only feel much more comfortable speaking but also have improved my listen comprehension dramatically! I would recommend any beginning students to take advantage of this great opportunity to establish a strong Chinese foundation! And finally, a big thank you to all of my 老师们 at FCI, you’ve been a great inspiration in my Chinese learning career, and I can’t wait to speak with you guys again!

What has been your favorite study abroad experience so far?

My favorite study abroad experience was my first study abroad experience at WKU during the winter of 2015-2016. I travelled for the first time to East Asia, and had the magnificent experience witnessing Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections. Furthermore, this experience not only sparked my interest in Cross Strait Relations, but I also went to Taiwan at a time in my Chinese learning career where I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, so being able to see the people behind the language really inspired me to continue my studies with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

 Overall, my study abroad trip to Taiwan continues to inspire me and has helped me to refine my interest in Asian politics to concentrate on the political relationships between Taiwan, China, and the United States. Looking back on this experience as a fourth-year Chinese student, going to Taiwan has inspired me continuously so much so that I am now planning my thesis around the topics that I was first introduced to during my time in Taiwan.  

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 Last Modified 8/8/16