Monday, May 19, 2008

Testimonial from Stephanie Chi-ning Chang

As the first-generation child of Taiwanese immigrant parents, I grew up in a Mandarin-speaking household, but never attained anything even remotely near native fluency, or even the fundamentals of written Chinese. I decided in my first year at Berkeley to enroll in the beginning level heritage class to improve my understanding of both oral and written Chinese, and I can honestly say now at the end of the semester that I've achieved so much more than my expectations. I've improved tangibly, and I'm not just saying that - to my own surprise I can actually read simple stories and elementary-level books now, which may not seem like much, but for someone who was practically completely illiterate before the class...

As a potential comparative literature major, I'm required to have more than one language in which I can work fluently enough to read and analyze its literature. Thus far I've planned my years out with Chinese as one of the main components of my major, and unless I can continue to take classes (preferably heritage) every single semester until I graduate, I won't be able to complete my requirements. Major aside, I'm still very upset that the EALC department has to suffer such drastic cuts, when it's all too clear that hundreds, if not thousands, of students at UC Berkeley find these classes to be an integral part of their education.
Stephanie Chi-ning Chang, Psychology and Comp. Literature double major (intended) (ning_ning AT

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