Ryan Carrigan
CarriganI realized by the time I started at Kalamazoo College I wanted to study something different for my language requirement.  I had studied Spanish for four years in high school and looking over the language offerings at 'K', I decided Chinese would be it.  I had a great time learning the language my freshman year, but realized that because I was dedicated to playing football as well I would not have the opportunity to study abroad in China.  Therefore, I decided my Sophomore year I would study something else.  The only spring quarter study abroad options available where in Spain, Trinidad, or France.  I figured i would try and go to one of those with some of my football buddies, but as the year started I quickly realized I wanted to be back in Chinese class.  Much of this reason for wanting to return to it came from taking several classes in Chinese cinema, poetry, and calligraphy.

The next year I continued with my chinese studies, but still never had the opportunity to study abroad.  My senior year I was left with no Chinese classes available to take, and I soon was preoccupied with applying to law school anyways.  When I was looking at the application to Valparaiso Law school I noticed they had a dual program with Law and Chinese Studies.  I figured I would apply to both to see what happens and soon I had heard back from the MACS program before any other place.  I realized that this was my chance to pick up my language study and take it to a professional and functional level, besides if I didn't do it now, I probabaly never would.  With that I took off for Hangzhou while my classmates were winding down the year and celebrating graduation.

The program in Hangzhou was excellent, it quickly got my language back up to a functional level that allowed me to get around and operate in China quickly.  The best part of this experiences was by far the teachers.  They were extremely helpful, and willing to do whatever it was you needed to address your personal language needs and deficiencies.  Aside from the intensive language study it was also a lot of fun.  I had the opportunity to travel all over China and would say I probably enjoyed my trek up Huang Shan the best.  As the MACS program concludes I hope to further study International Relations, International Political Economy or Development.  I also plan on applying to law school and several opportunities with the Department of State, DIA, CIA, and other government and international organizations.