By Pat Custer, Guest Contributor
Junior Max Butcher traveled to Tainan, Taiwan to participate in a language intensive immersion program this past summer — where he discussed current events and relevant political, economic, and environmental issues facing Taiwan. He exclusively spoke Chinese during this experience and improved his ability to have conversations through his daily activities with the local population of China’s oldest city.
While the in-class sessions were very beneficial to the growing of practical knowledge, Butcher explained that the most valuable aspect of the program was the time he spent outside of the classroom. In these moments, his knowledge and understanding of the language was tested in ways that are not possible in a classroom setting. He regularly ordered meals from local vendors — picking up colloquialism along the way.
Once classes were out, he regularly played pick-up basketball games, further strengthening his grasp on the language when quickly having to communicate with his teammates while on the court.
Butcher obtained this opportunity after applying for the program through the American Councils for International Education. The organization partnered with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education to help fund the program.
Through this experience, Butcher not only continued his academic path studying Chinese, but put what he had learned in the classroom to use in his daily life.