Logan Pauley ’15 spends summer at prestigious Taiwanese language program
August 22, 2013 By Mariel Smith
"This summer has taught me so much about being an
independent student," Pauley (in black Centre t-shirt) says. "It
was also a huge help being completely immersed in the language."
This fall, Centre will introduce the Centre-in-China study abroad program's new home at Tongji University in Shanghai, and Logan Pauley ’15 will be among the students who travel there to participate in the semester program. However, he will be the only one who got to brush up on his Chinese in a uniquely immersive experience at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) at National Taiwan University in Taiwan.
"I found out about the program from Dr. Anderson," Pauley explains, referencing Centre's Assistant Professor of Chinese and Chair of Asian Studies. "He attended the same program when he was a student."
Dr. Kyle Anderson suggested the program to Pauley because he knew it would be a perfect fit.
"Alongside IUP at Tsinghua University in Beijing, ICLP is the standard by which all Chinese programs are judged. Anyone who knows Logan, though, would have no problem saying that a challenging, intense immersion experience abroad was perfect for him," says Anderson. "I remembered my days there sitting one-on-one across from my teachers debating political topics and being grilled on hundreds of new vocabulary words and knew that Logan would relish such an opportunity for immense growth."
The prospect of such "immense growth" was one reason Pauley chose to attend the summer program.
"I knew I would be studying in China in the fall, and I didn't feel that my speaking or listening ability was at a level I was comfortable with," he says. "ICLP has a reputation for completely transforming students' Mandarin ability in a short amount of time, regardless of their prior skill."
This transformation in language skills happens thanks to 15 hours per week of Mandarin-only classes, not to mention hours every day navigating city streets, interacting with locals and making friends.
Despite being halfway across the world, Kentucky was never far, as Pauley learned during a completely unexpected moment while in Taipei: "I ran into some people from WKU [Western Kentucky University] on the fourth floor of a random building," he recalls. "That was pretty cool."
Pauley took three classes: a three-person class, a two-person class, and a one-on-one class with a teacher. In the one-on-one class, he translated the self-titled debut album of a local music group, roughly translated as Omnipotent Youth Society.
Luckily, the rigorous Mandarin classes he took with Dr. Anderson at Centre prepared him well for the demands of his ICLP curriculum. More importantly, the summer experience gave him a taste of studying abroad and immersive language learning, both of which will come in handy this fall.
"This summer has taught me so much about being an independent student," he says. ""It was also a huge help being completely immersed in the language."
Importantly, this experience has sparked a wider interest in Chinese and Asian culture and language for Pauley, who hopes it will not be the end of his involvement in China.
"If I find a way to afford coming back to ICLP or another similar program next summer, that'll be my first choice," Pauley says. "If not, I'll hope to find an internship in China for the next summer. It's my main hope that I'll be able to travel to Taiwan and China many times—Taiwan is amazing."
Dr. Anderson expressed similar enthusiasm for Centre's involvement in China, particularly with the new Centre-in-China study abroad program.
"Centre-in-China draws students into the heart of one of the world's oldest and most vibrant cultures, one that will be affecting students every day of their lives," he says. "Odds are very good that, no matter what field students choose to study or career they opt to pursue, knowledge of or an appointment in China will likely be a part of it. I'm very excited to hear about and learn from our students' experience there this fall—they will likely be bursting with excitement when they return."
Centre College, founded in 1819, offers its students a world of opportunities, highlighted by the nation's premier study abroad program and a faculty ranked #5 in the nation for "Best Undergraduate Teaching" at a liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report. Centre graduates enjoy extraordinary success, with entrance to top graduate and professional schools, prestigious fellowships for further study abroad (Rhodes, Rotary, Fulbright), and rewarding jobs (on average, 97 percent are employed or in advanced study within 10 months of graduation).