Ryan Barthel, Language Immersion Study Award recipient, wrote late summer about his experience studying Traditional Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan:
你們好! I am in my third week learning Mandarin Chinese at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages in Kaohsiung, Taiwan through a Language Immersion Study Award (LISA). Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, located at the southern end of the island, and is a major port and manufacturing center. Wenzao is a university dedicated to language study, and trains students in European and Asian languages, as well as instruction of English and Chinese. I chose to study Mandarin because of the advantages it will give me in my search for a career and fellowships after IPED as well as help me to better connect with Mandarin speaking friends. Even though it is among the most widely spoken languages in the world, the US government lists it as a lesser studied language in America. Trade relationships and alliances in this region ensure it will remain important to the US.
Ryan with host family
Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages
Visiting Cijin Island, near the port of Kaohsiung
While immersion study can be exhausting, it provides nearly unlimited opportunity to practice. My fellow Mandarin learners come from every continent (including a Bronx native!), so it is often easier to converse among ourselves in Mandarin, even outside the classroom. While Mandarin is often cited as a particularly difficult language to learn by many people, the underlying grammar is much simpler than English. Learning in Taiwan has been a great experience so far. Taiwanese people are very welcoming to foreigners, though this can sometimes make true immersion more difficult (at least for someone as obviously foreign as myself) because anyone who speaks English will try and practice with you! Longstanding links with the US and Japan make cultural adjustment bit easier as well. A challenge is that Taiwan is one of only a handful of places that use traditional Chinese characters. Obviously, this is a plus if you want to learn traditional characters, but it could be a challenge if you want to live or work in China. One simple tip for any language learners: Buy things in your new language! Shopkeepers have a vested interest in understanding you that even your teachers may not share, and it’s great practice as well as a good confidence builder when a random person can pick up on what you’re saying! It also helps to remove you from the sterile ‘learning’ environment and get a better idea of how people actually speak (turns out, not everyone follows classroom dialogue scripts, unfortunately!).
Overall, this is a wonderful experience thus far. My language skills are improving quickly and the teachers are dynamic and engaging. Beyond that, Taiwan is a beautiful country with a rich history and delicious food (food being the top reason anyone I’ve ever spoken to who has been to Taiwan says to visit), though it could stand to have a cold front or two move through. 再見!
In August, 12 IPED students participated in the Emerging Markets: South Africa study tour alongside two dozen South African students and professionals. The course is part of Fordham’s Emerging Markets and Country Risk Analysis certificate, also includes a course on political risk and strategic financial management.
Students spent every morning at the beautiful main campus of University of Pretoria.
Leonard, an alumnus of the Emerging Markets & Country Risk certificate program, helped welcome the new students to South Africa at the first of many braais.
Outside of the classroom, students deepened their knowledge of South Africa through various site visits. Over the course of three weeks, students had the opportunity to meet and interact with representatives from many of the major players in the South African economy, including the Public Investment Corporation, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), the South African Reserve Bank, the South Africa’s National Treasury, Standard Bank, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), De Beers, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, among others.
The South African Reserve Bank
Students learned about the positions of South Africa’s labor unions at NUMSA.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Although the majority of the course is spent in Pretoria and Johannesburg, students also had the opportunity to visit Cape Town, on South Africa’s southwest coast.
Students hiked right into Table Mountain’s famous “Tablecloth” on a hike up Platteklip Gorge.
IPED on Chapman’s Peak Drive with a view of the South Atlantic.
Fantastic dinner and entertainment at Marco’s in the Bo-Kapp neighborhood of Cape Town.
Robben Island–where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years behind bars–is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At the end of their time in South Africa, IPED students took at trip to the world famous Kruger National Park for a few days on safari.
The Emerging Markets: South Africa Study tour is an incredible opportunity for students to study an emerging market economy while immersed in that emerging market economy. Scholarships are generously offered through Fordham’s St. Campion Institute.
On Friday, September 16, Fordham IPED students met at Concourse House in the Bronx for the annual Bronx Community Day Career Trip.
IPED at Concourse House
IPED Students at Concourse House
After a light breakfast provided by UNHP, the IPED students met a Bronx development panel with Elizabeth Strojan, an IPED alumna from Enterprise, Jumelia Abrahamson from University Neighborhood Housing Program (UNHP), John Reilly from Fordham Bedford Housing Corporations (FBHC), John Garcia from Fordham Bedford Community Services (FBCS), and a representative from Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC). Starting with a brief history of housing in the Bronx from the 1960s to present, the panel discussed the work that their respective organizations do in the Bronx and the greater New York City area, including testimonials for why they work in their chosen profession and the progress they have seen through their involvement in the community.
Bronx Development Panel
After the panel discussion, Gregory Jost from Designing the WE treated the students to a history lesson on how the Bronx became what we see and know today. From humble beginnings, to grandiose development, to its modern depiction, his presentation discussing the “Undesign the Redline” framework showed how the most affluent neighborhood in the East was transformed into a bastion of poverty and violence by exploring structural racism and classism and their repercussions in today’s Bronx.
Within 15 Years…
The Bronx during the New Deal
Students being redlined
Designing the WE
The day ended with a late bagged lunch in Poe Park, just behind Edgar Allen Poe’s home, where the discussion with Mr. Jost continued.
Gregory Jost in Poe Park