Spotlight on Anna Bradford’s Trip to China

While most of us spent our summers in relaxation, senior Anna Bradford was hard at work on a government-run immersive language program in China. Bradford was one of 18 students from all over the country to be chosen for the selective program. Funded by the state department, she spent six weeks with a host family in the city of Nanjing, China.

“It was so immersive,” said Bradford. “Although I’ve been taking Chinese for six years, I probably learned more in those six weeks than I had during the six years of classroom study.”

On Mondays through Fridays, language classes, which consisted of speaking, writing, listening, and reading, took place from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Monday thru Friday. followed by cultural classes until 3:00 PM. The cultural classes provided Bradford and the other students a chance to tour the city of Nanjing, the former capital of China. However, Bradford did not miss out on the chance to explore on her own.

“We had lots of freedom to walk around and use the subway, so I was able to visit parts of Nanjing I wasn’t able to during the classes,” said Bradford.

Although during the first two weeks Bradford needed to rely occasionally on translations from her host family, by her third week, she was more than comfortable with the language.

“One moment that was really interesting was when we had a debate in speaking class over gun control in America,” said Bradford. “I am interested in social justice and the fact that I was able to have an opinion and express it to people all in Chinese really stood out to me – I was able to convey something I am passionate about in a foreign language.”

In the future, Bradford hopes that more people can take part in experiences like this.

“If you genuinely want to be immersed in a place and learn a language to a new level of understanding, this is the perfect program for you.”