IU Graduate Jamie Lui to Broaden Chinese Knowledge Through CLS


After growing up in New York City and receiving constant exposure to different languages and customs, recent Indiana University graduate Jamie Lui decided to pursue a major in International Studies with a minor in Chinese Language and Culture.

“Some of my closest friends were Japanese, Bengali and Haitian. I felt accustomed to cultural diversity but I also wanted to deepen my cultural understanding of the Chinese side of my family. I became interested in foreign policy because good diplomacy facilitates cultural diversity,” said Lui.

Lui has already expanded her knowledge of Chinese culture and politics outside of the classroom by traveling to Beijing and Shanghai her junior year. Her interest of studying Chinese in an immersive environment only continued when she applied for the Critical Language Scholarship.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) is a U.S. government program to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Scholars spend an average of eight weeks in their host country, in many cases living with host families or students from the host country. In addition to language skills, scholars gain cultural understanding through the program’s immersive approach. Approximately 550 students are selected each year, and for summer 2018, ten students from Indiana University Bloomington received the scholarships. Eight of the ten recipients are from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“CLS offers a valuable opportunity for me to strengthen my language ability in a way that transcends a traditional classroom setting,” said Lui.

Lui was offered the CLS due to her passion for Chinese culture and emphasized how she has high hopes of intertwining it with her career goals along with her personal life.

Throughout Lui’s IU undergraduate career, she also heightened her studies through the Certificate in Applied Research and Inquiry (CARI). While participating in CARI Lui was able to deepen her understanding of foreign policy and political equality in America.

“CARI gave me the tools I need to assess the world with a critical and inquisitive eye,” said Lui.

Upon accepting this award, CLS will send Lui to Changchun, a city located in northeast China, where she will attend language and cultural courses during the week. On the weekends Lui will have the opportunity to explore other parts of the city and its surrounding areas.

Lui aspires to use the CLS as a chance to improve her professional Chinese in order to strengthen her performance in Chinese work environments. She also plans on using this time to explore the food culture of the northeastern region of China.

In the fall, Lui will make her way back to New York where she will initiate a language exchange group in which anyone interested in teaching a language in exchange for being educated in a new language is welcome to join.

Lui will also be applying to graduate school while in New York and when thinking long-term, she strives to work for a think-tank or government career associated with East Asian-US relations.