Gillie Cuda ’16 Senior Profile: Chinese Studies and International Relations

In late summer of 2012 after already completing the dreaded online alcohol.edu, I was notified that I had been awarded a scholarship to study in Chongqing, China for a full academic year. I spent the next month hurriedly figuring out my plane flight, how to defer admission at WM for a year, and obtaining a visa. I spent my first year of college at Chongqing University where I studied Chinese language and culture and learnt so much more!

When I came “back” to William and Mary, I took Chinese culture classes which I loved, especially Tang Laoshi’s Chinese Literature and Chinese Poetry classes. The Chinese cosmological view and so much of the culture really came through in those two classes, and I could actually connect what I learnt there and relate it to what I experienced in China. I knew I wanted to live in the Chinese language house my second year here, so I applied for it and was assured I would be living there. However, due to a Residence Life Housing Office error, I ended up in the Italian House! The Casa Italiana was great, and I was so happy to chat with the house tutor Veronica Fantini at random hours of the night, as well as cook with her. In the Spring, I made one of the best decisions of my time here and took Professoressa Boyle’s Italian 103. She was a great teacher and reminded me of my love of all languages. I was excited to take Italian and happy that I could start talking with my grandparents in Italian, although I later learned they don’t speak “that grammatical, high-class, standard Italian.” Needless to say, under the guidance of the great Boyle, I took Italian 203 in the Fall and LOVED IT! I also took Professor Calvin Hui’s Chinese Senior Seminar on Shanzhai or Fake culture in China which was amazing. Finally, I have to thank Dr. Lu who I wish had arrived here sooner, but at least I got to take one Chinese Cinema class with her. She is great!

I will be learning how to drive, hopefully going to some language schools like Svenska Skolan to learn languages not offered at W&M, working at Aldi’s or Costco, my two absolute favorite stores, all while biting my nails and applying for jobs with the government. I will also work part time with the National Language Service Corps as a translator and interpreter.

About Mike Blum

Mike is the Academic Technologist for the Humanities at the College

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