As the recipient of the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship from the Taiwan Ministry of Education, Gavin Gross ’19 is spending his summer in Taipei participating in an intensive language course, the International Chinese Language Program. Based at the National Taiwan University, Gross will be studying Mandarin through August.
“Learning a language demands a great amount a time. As most students take four classes each semester, it is necessary to maintain a balance of focus on all of your classes. Thus, the summer is an ideal time to fully devote to my study of Mandarin,” says Gross.
The Huayu Enrichment Scholarship provides international students with the opportunity to study Mandarin, as well as increase their understanding of Taiwanese culture and society, with the ultimate goal of promoting mutual understanding between Taiwan and the international community. As Taiwan is the only place where traditional Chinese writing is still widely taught and used, studying in Taiwan allows students access to read ancient Chinese texts and understand the origins of Chinese language and culture.
His first time living abroad for an extended period, Gross is excited to experience the culture and cuisine. “There is a lot to appreciate about Taiwan, but I think my favorite thing about Taiwan has to be the food, specifically the night markets. Taiwanese food incorporates so many different dishes from around the world. So, when I am looking for a place to eat, I find myself choosing between cuisines from places like Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, China,” he explains.
The Huayu Enrichment Scholarship also provides new perspectives. “Traveling abroad is important because a lot of your previously held beliefs about different places change once you are there. It also alters your perspective on your home country,” Gross says.
Though he has not yet declared his major, Gross is interested in economics or math, as well as pursuing a minor in Asian languages and culture. On campus, he is a member of the club soccer team and a volunteer for American Counts and Day of Service.
In the photo, Gavin Gross ’19 stands in Memorial Park, in Taibei, Taiwan, with Lin-Yu “Viola” Chen, who served as his Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant on campus.