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Glory Zhang '26 to Study in Taiwan as a Critical Language Scholar

April 15, 2024 by Peyton Davis '26
Glory Zhang in front of cherry blossom tree

Glory Zhang '26, a linguistics and computer science double major, will be spending her summer in Taiwan as a Critical Language Scholar. 

Zhang, from Walnut, Calif., will spend eight weeks taking classes at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, where she will be furthering her Mandarin language study. 

The Critical Language Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and it partners with universities around the world to provide U.S. students the opportunity to study language and culture in a country where that language is commonly spoken. CLS applicants are selected for their commitment to language learning and intention of applying these skills in their future pursuits.  

“My main goal is to really work on my Chinese, and to hopefully become fluent. I also hope to minor in Chinese,” says Zhang. “One thing I’m looking into for future career paths is working with machine translators, and I think it would be helpful to know more than one language.” 

The aspect of the program Zhang is most excited—and nervous—for is the immersion, she says. 

All CLS participants sign a contract to communicate solely in their target language throughout the duration of the program. “It’s not that bad for me because I think speaking is one of my stronger skills, but I’m definitely not familiar with a lot of slang, so it will be interesting to communicate with people.” 

When she isn’t in class, language partner sessions, or exploring the city with her cohort, Zhang will probably be in one of Tainan’s many bookstores. She enjoys reading English translations of Chinese novels and is excited to experience them in their original language. 

For those interested in CLS, Zhang advises to research your country and culture of interest prior to applying. “It’s all about cultural exchange and being a citizen diplomat. My cohort and I are representing the United States and our culture, and we will learn about Taiwanese culture and try to bring it back here and share it.” 

Zhang is grateful for the encouragement and opportunities provided by Bryn Mawr. “The sheer, vast amount of programs here encouraged me to apply to at least some of them. Bryn Mawr is big on study abroad; you’d be hard-pressed to avoid people who have studied abroad,” says Zhang. “I think because they have such great programs, and promote it in a positive way, I thought I’d check it out.” 

Each year, Bryn Mawr students apply for a number of prestigious national scholarships, grants, and fellowships, often with great success. These fellowships may provide funding for the last years of undergraduate education, for graduate education both in the United States and abroad, or even for travel and independent research not tied to an academic institution. Learn more about the many fellowships and advising available to Bryn Mawr students in the Fellowships section of the website. 

Computer Science