Alumni and Careers

This is what some of our Chinese language alumni have to say about our program.
Eduardo Jaramillo

Eduardo Jaramillo

Class of: 2017

Major(s): Asian Studies, History

Studying Chinese language at Bowdoin was both a challenging and a rewarding experience. My classes at Bowdoin have improved both my conversational and professional Chinese speaking skills, and have vastly expanded my ability to read and write in Mandarin. The Chinese Department has also helped me to take advantage of some incredible opportunities off campus, including a Chinese speaking competition in Boston, a Middlebury study abroad program in Kunming, and a summer internship in Kunming. Furthermore, the Chinese Department is a close-knit community that allows students to develop close relationships with professors and classmates.

Wirunwan Pitaktong

Wirunwan Pitaktong

Class of: 2017

My paternal grandparents immigrated from Southern China to Thailand. Even though they do not speak Mandarin Chinese, I grew up with Chinese characters, culture, folklores, and stories from my grandparents' childhood. Despite this environment, I often said that I am simply "Thai" and nothing else. I never fully grasped the "Chinese side" and how it has informed and shaped me as a person.

What interested you about the major?

I started Chinese since the first semester and went abroad to Beijing my Junior year. Chinese at Bowdoin had prepared me well for my semester abroad in Beijing and greatly assisted me with my HSK exam level 5. With better command of Chinese, I was able to read literature and watch Chinese TV programs and news; and with such opportunities I was able to better understand the politics, history, and the mindsets of my grandparents whom I had lived with throughout my childhood. To me, learning Chinese is not only something I do for the sake of comprehension of the language, but also for the understanding of my heritage.

Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma

Class of: 2017

My whole family is from Shanghai—one of my goals coming to Bowdoin was to learn Chinese. As a kid, I grew up speaking Shanghainese, but never really learned how to speak Mandarin or write in Chinese. I've been taking Chinese for the past 3 years and my Chinese has really improved! It's been one of the defining parts of my Bowdoin education.

Nicholas Fenichell

Nicholas Fenichell

Class of: 2012

My Chinese skills helped me find an internship at a venture capital firm and land a job at a Chinese real estate company in Shanghai and Hong Kong. I wanted to learn a new language at Bowdoin- one that would be challenging and that would open up doors in the future.

What interested you about the major?

My first-year and second-year Chinese teacher, Professor Cui, was a huge influence in my Chinese studies. While his classes were very demanding, he was completely invested in his students. Professor Jia was also a very important person in my Chinese career, as he was the one who gave me the Chinese name I use now. Finally, Professor Tsui piqued my interest in Chinese culture and film. After having studied abroad in Beijing for six months, I decided I wanted to go back after graduation. My Chinese skills helped me find an internship at a venture capital firm and land a job at a Chinese real estate company in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Knowing the language well allowed me to navigate in both the Western and Chinese worlds in social and professional aspects. I use Chinese now mainly in social settings, and people are pleasantly surprised to see that I can carry a conversation quite fluently. I invite students from all backgrounds and years to try learning Chinese and discovering a beautiful language, people, and country.