For Amy Tran ’15, West Fargo, N.D, the opportunity to return to China for another study abroad experience comes at a pivotal time.
Selected as a recipient of the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship, Tran will spend eight weeks enhancing her Mandarin language skills and cultural understanding in China beginning in June.
The trip comes on the heels of Tran’s May graduation, a time when many new alumni are searching for jobs or preparing for graduate school. There’s no denying the pressure on recent college graduates to jump right into the next big thing, but Tran doesn’t mind leaving herself open to the possibilities. An opportunity to embrace her passion for China’s language and culture seems like a great place to start.
“I figured, ‘Why not?’ Even if I didn’t receive [the scholarship], I wouldn’t look back on this opportunity with any regret,” she says.
Acceptance to the program came as a surprise to Tran, who was one of over 5,000 applicants nationwide. In a recent blog post, Tran wrote about her excitement at learning of her acceptance.
“In that moment, I felt everything inside me drop to my knees,” she says. “Happiness, relief, gratitude – the emotions just came, and I could only handle them in the best way I knew how: by crying like a baby.”
Tran says that her time at Concordia has helped prepare her for the experience. As a Gilman Scholar, Tran spent a year in China and she credits her internship at Concordia’s Office of Intercultural Affairs with helping her develop the sense of responsibility, organization, and problem-solving skills that support a whole education.
“I know that even though the program itself is intensive, the skills I developed at Concordia are transferable to the standards and expectations of the program itself,” she says.
With graduation approaching, Tran may still be looking for a long-term plan but come June she’ll bring that search with her on a whole new journey.
“As someone who is on the brink of graduating, the acceptance was like a reassuring pat on the back that meant, ‘We know you are capable of good things,” Tran says.