Immerse Derek in Chinese Language and Culture

Derek Blankenship Start Date: Sep 6, 2014 - End Date: Nov 4, 2014
  • Beijing, Beijing, China

My Travel Story

by: Derek Blankenship Start Date: Sep 6, 2014 - End Date: Nov 4, 2014

When I first arrived at Whittier College I didn’t have much interest in China. I took Chinese because it was paired with another class that I really wanted, and had never expected to study past a single semester. Of course, now that I am in my third year of studying the Chinese language, it is clear that my expectations have reversed completely. The language ignited a spark of fascination within me: I longed to know the origins of words, and the nuances of a culture both vastly different and strangely similar to my own. With every new character, structure, and story, I desired even more to speak the language as if it was my first.  It seems the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, but that does not stop me. My passion for Chinese culture and language has pushed me study abroad. On the recommendations of my friend Tyler Butler, a program graduate, and my study abroad adviser Dr. Roller, I have chosen the Chinese Studies Institute at the prestigious Beijing University as my school of choice.

The Language Immersion program there seems to be exceptional, offering lots of personal instruction alongside some unique learning opportunities. I would like to participate in this program so that I may move ever closer to achieving my ultimate goal: fluency. Additionally, I am interested in learning and taking part in Chinese culture so that I may achieve greater understanding to bring home and share with my peers. As an English major, I seek the opportunity to build up connections I have already made between the languages, both in literature and in linguistics. Finally, I am considering changing my Chinese minor to a major; however, either way, I plan to apply my expanded understanding in school and beyond.

The funds from this campaign will be used to subsidize the cost of airfare, as anyone who has taken a look at prices knows that flying is very expensive. Luckily, a lot of my costs will be covered by existing finacial aid, but this money will ensure that I can afford to cover all my bases.

  • Beijing, Beijing, China


  • Going Strong!

    Big thanks to everyone who has donated so far--we are reaching our goal very quickly! For those are still considering donation, know that if I exceed my goal then the extra funds will further be put towards airfare, and (if that cost is covered entirely) then the remaining funds will go towards housing, food, and other travel neccessities. I set a modest goal knowing that my personal funds could cover the rest, but any amount I recieve over that goal will help alliviate the financial burden and contribute to a more positive experience.

    For anyone interested, while I am in China I will probably be posting updates on either facebook, or a blog if I am feeling ambitious, so you can keep up on my experiences there. Otherwise, you could always come to me at gatherings of family or friends and I would be happy to tell you all about it!