The Chinese language has been an integral part of my life. It was my first language before I was exposed to English when I started primary school, so I actually spent 5 years speaking nothing but Chinese.

Though it would have been extremely easy to have my Chinese skills fade upon entering school, my parents made sure that I knew how important keeping up my Chinese skills was. Though I often butted heads with my parents saying that learning it was ‘too hard’ or that ‘no one speaks it at school’, I quickly came to realize how valuable it is to speak this wonderful language.

Through learning Chinese, I've learned more about my culture, experienced personal growth through the learning process, and have most importantly fused it with my primary area of interest: art. Without learning Chinese and becoming gradually exposed to more Chinese culture, I wouldn't have ever found myself studying abroad in Hong Kong and immersing myself in the contemporary Asian art world.

Don't give up on learning Chinese–I promise you that it′ll pay off!

Natalie Zhang, a Chinese Studies student at Willamette University
Willamette University

Chinese Studies

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6256 voice
503-370-6720 fax

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