First-year student awarded Critical Language Scholarship from U.S. State Department
Before she graduates, Brandy Darling ’19 wants to travel to China as many times as possible.
It’s only taken her one year to be well on her way.
Darling has been awarded a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to pursue Chinese language skills in Dalian, China, this summer. The fully funded trip will place Darling with a host family for 8-10 weeks, and will include classes in Mandarin, excursions and immersion in local culture.
This will actually be the second trip to China for Darling, a Posse Scholar from Chicago who plans to major in economics and East Asian studies. She studied Mandarin throughout high school through a program at DePaul University and took the opportunity to travel to China for a month through the Americans Promoting Study Abroad program, visiting the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing.
As her passion for studying Mandarin grew, Darling said she sought out a college that provided strong foreign language programs and the ability to travel overseas. A high school teacher encouraged her to look into Connecticut College and the Posse Scholars program—a perfect fit for her educational and career goals.
“Conn had everything I was looking for: a small environment, study abroad programs and the chance to study Mandarin,” Darling said.
And throughout her first year, Darling has found even more ways to develop her Mandarin. She is an active member of the East Asian Studies Student Advisory Board and, through the former Office of Volunteers for Community Service (now known as Community Partnerships), she worked as a tutor for a local Chinese-speaking elementary school student. In April, she presented in Mandarin at the annual World Languages Conference at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London, where College students regularly work with young students on foreign language skills.
This trip to China will be Darling’s biggest challenge yet, but one she’s prepared to face. “Just being immersed in the culture and not speaking English—this program is very strict about that. But I’m ready for the challenge.”