Learning Mandarin has been a lifelong goal of mine that I only recently began to seriously work on. I am half Taiwanese, but growing up Mandarin was not spoken in the house, since my father is not fluent in it. This never bothered me as a child, but as I grew older, I realized how detached I was from that half of my heritage, and I was unhappy with the passivity I had assumed up until then.
I am proud to be half Taiwanese, and wanted to learn more about what that meant, both to myself and on the grander scale. I began with studying Mandarin, but this was only scratching the surface. I knew that studying abroad, immersing myself in the culture, venturing out of my comfort zone, was the way to learn about Chinese culture, and ultimately learn about myself. With this in mind, I knew I wanted to participate in a study abroad program in China or Taiwan.
After that, it fell to logistics. My school offered a handful of programs to my desired region so I weighed different programs based on price, location, and course offerings. I was intrigued by the prospects the booming metropolis of Shanghai would offer me, especially since I had not grown up in a big city. It offered a wildly exciting experience, with countless things to do and see. I was also inspired by the opportunity for internships that CAPA offered. I enjoy hands-on work, being an engineering major, and saw an internship as the perfect way to learn a new topic while avoiding a dry lecture hall. Finally, the CAPA program offering through ASU was incredibly cost-effective, with spectacular inclusions. In fact, the CAPA tuition fee was less expensive than the out of state tuition I would have had to pay ASU in the first place!