Critical Language Scholarship Program | Jacqualine Asuquo
U.S. Flag   State Department Seal   A Program of the U.S. Department of State

Jacqualine Asuquo

Jacqua­line Asuquo is an alum­na of the 2016 CLS Chi­nese pro­gram in Tainan, Tai­wan. She is cur­rent­ly at sopho­more at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land at Col­lege Park major­ing in Chi­nese with a minor in Mid­dle East­ern stud­ies. Jacqua­line is grew up in Capi­tol Heights, Mary­land and recent­ly trans­ferred to UMD, where she is a mem­ber of the uni­ver­si­ty cho­rus, from Loy­ola Uni­ver­si­ty in Bal­ti­more. In addi­tion to her love for music, Jacqua­line enjoys being involved with her local com­mu­ni­ty, trav­el­ing, meet­ing new peo­ple, and baking.

Why Chi­nese?

I was ini­tial­ly tricked into study­ing Chi­nese. In fifth grade, my friends and I were choos­ing lan­guages for the fol­low­ing school year and we all decid­ed to take Chi­nese togeth­er. At the time, we were all tak­ing French. I signed up for Chi­nese and when the school year start­ed, I wait­ed for them to join me in the Chi­nese lan­guage line, but they were still in the French line. I wasn’t allowed to switch lan­guages, and I end­ed up lov­ing Chi­nese — not only the lan­guage, but also the cul­ture, his­to­ry, and tra­di­tions. I decid­ed to con­tin­ue study­ing it into col­lege, and now my goal is to have a career in which I can use my Chinese. 

A Clas­si­cal’ Mix-up

One evening dur­ing the sec­ond week of the pro­gram, I was at home study­ing in my room when I heard a noise that sound­ed like Beethoven’s Fur Elise.” I have always equat­ed that sort of chim­ing music with ice cream trucks. I was so excit­ed, think­ing to myself, The ice cream truck is here!” Nat­u­ral­ly I grabbed my wal­let and ran down­stairs to meet the truck. To my com­plete sur­prise, I ran out to a bright yel­low garbage truck play­ing music as peo­ple filed out of their hous­es to throw away their trash. I was shocked to dis­cov­er that in Tai­wan, garbage trucks play music when they are near­by, sim­i­lar to how Unit­ed States ice cream trucks play music. Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, the next week one of our units was called 垃圾车来了!” (“The Garbage Truck is Here!”) where we learned all about Taiwan’s trash and recy­cling sys­tem. From this first-hand expe­ri­ence, I was able to tell my class­mates in detail all about trash in Taiwan. 

Diver­si­ty is an Asset

Being African-Amer­i­can, I uti­lized the expe­ri­ences that I had of peo­ple ques­tion­ing my skin col­or, touch­ing my hair, and ask­ing me ques­tions to edu­cate them on my back­ground and my culture. 

Words of Wisdom

没问题” means no prob­lem.” I love that in the Chi­nese lan­guage, words and phras­es have so much mean­ing behind them. Every day when one of us made mis­take, we said 没问题. It meant that learn­ing is a process of growth, every day we have anoth­er chance to try again and improve. Learn­ing a lan­guage is chal­leng­ing, but through CLS I was able to make mis­takes in a safe envi­ron­ment and chal­lenge myself. I encour­age every­one to study a lan­guage and study abroad. 


Alumni Profiles

Jacqualine Asuquo
Jacqualine Asuquo
Chinese 2016
Tainan, Taiwan

See More Profiles


Posted Date

March 28, 2017