When Shelby Watson was a freshman in high school, she needed to add a class to fill a void in her schedule so she chose to take Chinese. Little did she know at the time that would be the key to her earning a scholarship to study the language in Taiwan.
Watson, a freshman at Western Carolina University, is the recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship given by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and supported by American Councils for International Education. The program is a part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.
Among the languages being studied abroad are Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. Watson is the first WCU student to receive a Critical Language Scholarship.
In order to receive a scholarship to study Chinese, a student had to have at least two years of studying the language. When Watson was looking for a class to complete her high school schedule, she said Chinese was the only class that sounded interesting.
Originally published May 8, 2018 by Marlon Morgan.