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Rising fourth year student Jennifer Murray has already completed the requirements for her Chinese major, and so has decided to take on the additional challenge of a Distinguished Major program in Chinese. For her project, she has chosen the writings of Daoist sage Zhuangzi. She plans to prepare to work with primary materials on Zhuangzi by reading secondary scholarship and sampling the numerous English translations over summer break. In the Fall she will select the passages that she wishes to focus on and read them under the guidance of DMP advisor Professor Anne Kinney. Then in the Spring, she will begin her own translation and analysis of a passage from the famously elusive philosophical work.

Following graduation, Jennifer is unsure whether she will proceed directly to graduate school or go to live and teach English in China first. She feels that the advantage of living in the country for a while will be greater ease and facility in her use of Chinese. To this end, she also plans on completing the TESOL teaching requirements next year. In addition to taking TESOL and working on her DMP project, Jennifer also hopes to continue working for the Chinese Bilingual Faculty Program (CBFP). She enjoyed her work with the CBFP this semester very much.

Ms. Murray speaks from experience. Having studied fourth year Chinese with the UVa in Shanghai program last year, she has some idea of what life in China will be like. She says, “It was very difficult. We worked hard and learned a ton, and I think that that experience taught me things about Chinese culture that I never would have been able to learn in the US. China was so much bigger than I expected it to be, and no amount of verbal preparation could have prepared me for the large scale of the buildings and the large numbers of people. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my experience in China. Because being in the UVa program we were studying most of the time, I hope that the next time I am in China I have more of a chance to travel to different cities and explore the less well-known parts of China.”

It seems only natural to want to get to know the country whose language and culture one has studied for so long better, and we wish Jennifer success, whichever path she chooses.