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Why I Majored in Chinese

Nathan Barewin ’23

Coming into Pomona my freshman year, I had several doubts as to whether I wanted to continue studying Chinese. Even though I was confident about my ability to speak Chinese in high school, I felt completely unprepared for a college difficulty language program—especially one as rigorous as Pomona's Chinese curriculum. My first semester Chinese course demanded my best quality of work and I studied as hard as I ever had before, yet as the semester went by I was amazed how rapidly my proficiency level was improving. Surely enough, I learned that while these courses required my full commitment and preparation, achieving success was never out of reach.

One of my favorite parts about Chinese is that as you learn more of the language, you become further compelled to study the culture and society behind it. I began to understand concepts that had been difficult to comprehend the year before, further deepening my appreciation for the language. I knew I wanted to major in Chinese after taking Digital News Reading in Chinese with Professor Xiao in the fall of 2020. The main objective of this course was to discuss current events that we found in Chinese news. Considering the tumultuous atmosphere that was 2020, our class had little difficulty generating interesting class material. Through this class I was able to not only improve all facets of my abilities, but I also developed an appreciation for the language that inspired me to work towards a Chinese major. I cannot wait to continue expanding my knowledge of Chinese at Pomona. In pairing Chinese with my economics major, I will be equipping myself with the necessary tools to analyze the future problems of our generation. I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to both Professor Xiao and my fellow students for inspiring me to pursue a Chinese major. The best part of Pomona is the people, and I am excited to see how the coming years develop my love for Chinese even further.

Ava Tiller ’23

I have taken Chinese since eighth grade and I have always loved the process of language learning, but taking Chinese at Pomona made me realize my true love for the language and that I want to pursue Chinese in some form post-grad. I decided to major in Chinese because Chinese has given me a deeper understanding of politics, culture, and human interaction. The faculty are amazing and have been very helpful in my Chinese journey thus far at Pomona. When I took my first Chinese class at Pomona (CHIN111A), I was definitely nervous as I was one of only a handful of first-years in Advanced Chinese, but I found a supportive community of peers who are equally passionate about language learning. Majoring in Chinese has given me the opportunity to conduct research with Professor Xiao and eventually get my paper published. It has also helped me realize my interest in the intersection of Chinese and Politics (my other major!). Overall, I have found that the Chinese major has allowed me to constantly learn and grow; it has given me a better understanding of U.S.-China relations and Chinese history and culture.