I owe a lot to my Chinese education. It’s through learning Chinese that I was paid to travel over my sophomore and junior summers, first to Suzhou and then to Taiwan. Chinese fluency is also the reason I am able to get a job in the State Department as a Consular Fellow. But beyond material benefits, learning Chinese, both the language and the culture, has benefited me immensely. I have been exposed to so many new experiences and people, for example in the picture I was exposed to toasting culture (敬酒) for the first time, which definitely was jarring, but I did (and drank) what was expected of me and had a great time. The exam I had to take on the next day wasn’t as fun but it didn’t bother me, because I could really make it in a completely foreign environment. And that feeling is what I have gained from studying Chinese.