Tabitha Bandi

Chinese Name:Tabitha Bandi

Hometown: Starkville, MS

Major(s): International Studies / Chinese

Why did you choose to join the Flagship Program?

As a part of my major (International Studies) I am required to study a foreign language. I decided that I wanted to learn a critical language to fulfill this requirement. When I had the chance to choose between a regular language class or a Flagship language class, the difference was clear. Flagship offers more opportunities, such as summer language programs, challenging classes, and smaller class sizes. At first, learning a new language at such an intense pace was intimidating, but nothing can express the satisfaction that I have experienced. The Flagship teaches me Chinese language, but more importantly it teaches me about Chinese culture.

Have you studied abroad? If yes, when and where? What is one of your most memorable experiences?

Last summer I studied in Qingdao, China, with the Flagship Program. It was one of the best experiences of my life. After studying in the classroom for a year, being able to go out and practice what I learned was so valuable to my learning experience. I learned so much more about the culture than any book could have taught me. My most memorable experience was staying with a Chinese family for one week. Living with them and participating in everyday activities helped me understand Chinese culture in a new way. That experience was priceless. My language skills also improved during this time. My Chinese family could not speak English, so I had to use my Chinese language skills to communicate with them. Additionally, the food was amazing. My family even taught me how to cook a few dishes!

How would you sum up your experience in Flagship?

My experience in Flagship has been wonderful. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Flagship has really helped me learn the language. Although I am not fluent yet, I know that at the end of the five years with Flagship, my Chinese language skills will at a superior level.