Critical Language Scholarship Program | Holden Fitzgerald

Holden Fitzgerald

Holden Fitzgerald is an alumnus of the 2018 CLS Chinese program in Xi’an, China. He is a current student at University of Denver, where he’s in his first year of his master’s program in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration.

Love of China Sparked by Study Abroad

I first studied abroad in China in 2012. From that time onward I became interested in the country and the language. CLS gave me a wonderful opportunity to continue this study in Xi’an. My language helps a lot with my understanding of Chinese culture and politics, which I apply to my studies as I specialize in the US-China relationship.

A Memorable Excursion

During our program we had the opportunity to go to the Chinese province of Ningxia. I’m sure this time stood out to many of my peers, and it certainly did to me as well. We got to spend one evening of our trip with a local community where we made tea, barbeque, and had a great time with a makeshift concert afterwards.

Getting to visit with kids in a foreign language is always a fun time, as they judge you for mistakes, but in a way that pushes you to do better. They’re always willing to lend a helping hand as well!

Bringing the Warmth Home

Having had the opportunity to study abroad constantly changes the way I view my own community. I came back from this experience with incredible stories that share the warmth and kindness of my hosts in China. There were misunderstandings and hardships throughout, but it’s nice to be able to spread the story of just how friendly and welcoming folks in China have been to me. I think this truly helps to spread understanding between our two cultures which has long-term impacts on our relationship.


I absolutely would recommend people to study Chinese and live in China. There is nothing like it! You will grow as a person and come to understand things about yourself you never knew. You will experience hardships, but these all translate into stories for when you come home. China is full of incredible, lovely, and friendly people, plus they have some amazing food. The ethnically Muslim restaurants in Huiminjie and the noodle place at the end of Shidalu are must-visits in Xi’an!.

Fun Facts about Holden

I’m from Denver, Colorado, which necessitates that I love to ski, hike 14ers, bike, run, and the like. Outside of classes I am finishing up my term as the student government vice president and love to do improv comedy with my team, Skintight Outrage.

CLS Alumni Ambassadors are recent CLS participants who take leadership roles as active and positive representatives of the CLS Program by engaging with CLS alumni and representing the program to various audiences. If you would like to get in touch with a CLS Alumni Ambassador, please contact

Alumni Profiles

Holden Fitzgerald
Holden Fitzgerald

See More Profiles

Posted Date

May 06, 2019