My name is Bridget Adduce and I’m a graduating senior, class of 2016. Most people are surprised to hear that I’m majoring in Mandarin Chinese with a double minor in Spanish and Linguistics. In fact, when you go to your advisor and tell them you need an internship related to Chinese that isn’t related to teaching English…well they sort of just wish you the best of luck. That’s why I was so relieved when I found the Center for Global Studies.
While I may not walk into the office and speak Chinese every day, I get to learn from and interact with different cultures on a daily basis. You’d be surprised how often Chinese comes in handy in this type of environment! The Center is dedicated to facilitating global communication. If you’re ever wondering who’s inviting all of the international scholars to talk about their research at Penn State or who’s behind the foreign film series you see in Chambers and Foster Auditorium all the time –it’s us!
One of the reasons I study languages is because I’m very passionate about learning from other cultures and The Center for Global Studies shares this passion. Through the course of one short year, this internship has given me countless opportunities to expand on my passion and share it with the Penn State community. One of the ways I’ve done this is through World Stories Alive (WSA). WSA is an international story series every Saturday at Schlow Library where a speaker reads to children in a different language every week. The kids learn basic vocabulary, a song in the target language, and even get to complete a cultural-themed craft at the end. I think what continues to amaze me most is the number of local parents who are interested in expanding their children’s horizons. It’s a great experience to see the same kids showing up from one week to the next because it shows their interest in learning about a world outside of their own, and I love being someone who has helped make that happen.
Another one of my favorite series has always been the Brown Bag Series. Every Wednesday we invite graduate students, professors, visiting speakers, etc. to present their current research to a room full of peers over lunch. CGS always provides Cove cookies and coffee, and occasionally a talented speaker like our very own graduate assistant, Loredana, will bring their own specially prepared snack.
What I like more than the food however, is the slightly less formal setting in which the globally related topics are presented. I love the open discussion at the end where everyone is welcome to ask questions and give their own feedback on the research. Each person is treated like equals at the Brown Bag Series and it’s a productive way for students to get involved in the research that is taking place around them at Penn State. For me, it was honestly one of the most useful ways to learn more about modern Chinese culture because many of our speakers were international Chinese graduate students.
Of course, I’ve also gained a lot of technical skills while working behind the scenes. Weekly tasks at the Center have taught me how to write a professional press release for upcoming events, how to compile a newsletter on a deadline, how to correspond with and often interview visiting scholars, and everyone’s favorite: how to create and hang up loads and loads of flyers. (Publicity is key!)
In addition to the internship, I also received a FLAS fellowship from the Center as a fourth year student majoring in Chinese. This has been exponential in aiding me throughout the past academic year not only financially, but also academically. I’ve always had a passion for learning different languages, and Chinese is the number one most spoken language in the world today, so it was never a hard decision for me to study the language and culture.
Because of this award, I was able to continue my final year of language courses, including the area studies course “Traditional Chinese Literature,” without having to stress about my financial burden. Without having to work so many hours at my part time job as a waitress, I was able to maintain my grades in each of these difficult courses and focus on finding a job post-graduation. As a result, I successfully obtained a position as a project coordinator for the world’s largest translating company, Transperfect. The FLAS fellowship has helped me accomplish every goal that I set for myself and I encourage every student to continue to get involved and explore the invaluable opportunities that the Center has to offer.
As my internship slowly comes to an end, I can honestly say I’m sad to have to go. Our advisor, Sarah Lyall-Combs, is the person who taught me the majority of these skills. She has sat patiently with every intern as we went through multiple drafts of newsletters, and tried desperately (and failed) many times to coordinate all of our schedules, but she also taught us how to do all of these things on our own. For the first time in my college career, I don’t feel afraid of the “real world” that all seniors talk about and dread because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to learn the necessary skills to succeed.
I want to thank the Center for Global Studies for giving me the confidence I need to start the next journey of my career. I especially would like to thank Mary Price, who has given genuine support to all of us as we cope with the daily struggle of being a college student. To Lauren, Kayla, and Loredana, I wish you all the best of luck as you continue to work towards your dream careers. I’m looking forward to seeing how my fellow strong, independent female interns move on to make a difference. Whatever my future holds, I can only hope that it treats me as well as the Center for Global Studies has treated me this past year.