Chinese and international affairs student to study in Taiwan with the help of a fully funded program from the U.S. Department of State
When Lindsey Quint, an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder studying international affairs and Chinese, decided to enroll in a beginning Chinese course in sixth grade, she had no idea just how much it would become a part of her life.
But the work that followed that decision was anything but easy.
“I remember hating it in middle school. It was so hard and I always felt like I was never as good as everyone else, but it was never something I felt like I could give up. I had dedicated so much time and energy to it and it slowly became a part of my identity.”
And her tenacity paid off nicely this March, when she was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship, a fully funded program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, that allows American students to learn languages critical to national security and economic prosperity.
As part of the scholarship, Quint will attend the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan this summer. “I’m looking forward to improving my language skills and experiencing Chinese culture firsthand,” she said.
The process to win the Critical Language Scholarship, though, has been anything but easy. “The first time I applied, I was waitlisted. I remember thinking, ‘What's the point? I dedicated so much time and energy to this language, and it didn't feel like it mattered.’”
Quint said she spent hours on the application scouring over every written response with her mom.
“Instead of giving up, I just decided, ‘Well, if they think I'm not ready for this program, then I’m not.’ In order to be a better applicant next time, I decided I was going to grow as much as I could for the next time I applied. I challenged myself through harder courses and took on additional internships as well.”
Quint said studying Chinese has boosted her perseverance.
Chinese has taught me to embrace difficult things … it forced me to embrace struggles."
“When something hard comes their way, I think people’s first instinct is to avoid it. Chinese has taught me to embrace difficult things … it forced me to embrace struggles.”
Quint said watching Chinese dramas helped her learn the language. “I’d highly recommend watching them for language improvement. It was something I mentioned in my Critical Language Scholarship application. While they’re dramatized and not super reflective of reality, you learn a lot about the Chinese language in a conversational setting. I would recommend Here to Heart on Netflix, I loved it.”
After her time in Taiwan this summer, Quint plans to attend the University of Michigan for a master's degree in international and regional studies with a Chinese specialization.
“I’m hoping to study blame rhetoric between the United States and China,” she said. “I just completed an honors thesis that addresses how the United States uses blame rhetoric towards China to address U.S. economic shortcomings. I’m hoping to continue researching how historical legacies influence present-day foreign policy between China and the United States.”
Quint plans to earn a PhD and teach at a university. But before that, she would like to work as a foreign policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service.