Critical Language Scholarship Program | Kimber Young
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Kimber Young

Kim­ber Young is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Chi­nese pro­gram in Dalian, Chi­na. She’s cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing an under­grad­u­ate degree in Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion with a minor in Chi­nese Edu­ca­tion at Utah State Uni­ver­si­ty and works part-time as a Chi­nese instruc­tor. She hopes to work in cur­ricu­lum design for the Utah Dual Lan­guage Immer­sion Pro­gram. Kim­ber enjoys trav­el­ing, hik­ing, paint­ing, writ­ing, and read­ing in her leisure time.

An Ear­ly Inter­est in China

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, the old­est of four sib­lings. I ini­tial­ly learned to speak Chi­nese when I was a mis­sion­ary for my church in New York City, but I have had a pas­sion for Chi­na since I was in kinder­garten. As a five-year-old, I took it upon myself to make a pre­sen­ta­tion all about Chi­na and present it to my kinder­garten class with a tri­fold and every­thing. I laugh when I think about it now, but ever since then I have had a pas­sion for the Chi­nese lan­guage and culture.

Why Chi­nese?

I want­ed to study Chi­nese because I real­ized that by under­stand­ing Chi­nese, I would be under­stand­ing a cul­ture that was so dif­fer­ent from my own. That was intrigu­ing to me! Lan­guages open your eyes to a new world.

Learn­ing Chi­nese helps you under­stand things from a whole new per­spec­tive. In Chi­nese, two words are meshed to cre­ate a new mean­ing, cre­at­ing words for con­cepts that can­not quite be achieved in Eng­lish. My favorite word to say in Chi­nese is 小心 (xiaox­in), which means be care­ful.” I love it because its lit­er­al mean­ing is lit­tle heart,” which I think accu­rate­ly describes that feel­ing when your heart skips a beat from see­ing some­one do some­thing dangerous. 

Though I have stud­ied Chi­nese for about five years, the edu­ca­tion pro­vid­ed by the CLS pro­gram was hard to beat. I felt that I had the best study abroad expe­ri­ence in exis­tence — I expand­ed my lan­guage skills, learned so much about the his­to­ry and cul­ture of the place we were in, and got to know many new friends on a deep lev­el. CLS was hands down one of the best expe­ri­ences of my life!

Con­nect­ing Across Cultures

I think my favorite mem­o­ries from the CLS pro­gram come from the time I spent with my lan­guage part­ner. She was deter­mined to show me all dif­fer­ent kinds of Chi­nese food. I swear I have tried near­ly every­thing and loved all of it! We talked about so many things togeth­er, and real­ly got to know each oth­er as peo­ple and friends. By meet­ing my lan­guage part­ner, I got a very inti­mate look at Chi­nese cul­ture through the eyes of some­one my own age.

It was such a spe­cial expe­ri­ence feel­ing like a diplo­mat for the Unit­ed States and teach­ing my host fam­i­ly and class­mates about my com­mu­ni­ty back home. In my com­mu­ni­ty, we have many tra­di­tion­al val­ues and it was cool to see how much it aligned with Chi­nese cul­ture. Upon return­ing home, I felt I had an acute under­stand­ing of Chi­nese cul­ture and was able to share that with my fam­i­ly and friends back home. I even taught them how to make dumplings!

Pro­fes­sion­al Aspirations

I use my lan­guage dai­ly now as a Chi­nese teacher for teenagers, and it has enabled me to progress in ways I nev­er thought pos­si­ble. Learn­ing a new lan­guage has opened so many doors!

I ulti­mate­ly want to work in cur­ricu­lum design for the Utah Dual Lan­guage Immer­sion Pro­gram. Utah’s DLI pro­gram (at ele­men­tary and sec­ondary lev­els) is the lead­ing DLI pro­gram in the world! I have a strong belief that learn­ing lan­guages is so ben­e­fi­cial and impor­tant cog­ni­tive­ly, cul­tur­al­ly, and personally.


Alumni Profiles

Kimber Young
Kimber Young
Chinese 2019
Dalian, China

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020