My name is Gavin Wei-Yu Chen (陳威瑜) and I am currently a student in the Master’s of Arts in Chinese Studies program at Valparaiso University. I was born in the Los Angeles, California area but I have also lived in Taipei, Taiwan, and Charlotte, North Carolina. After graduating from high school in 2004, I matriculated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Asian Studies (Chinese), along with a Japanese minor, in December 2007. During the course of my college studies, I was able to intern at the Beijing, China headquarters of Ericsson Telecommunications for the summer of 2006 as well as study abroad in Chiba, Japan during the summer of 2007. Prior to my participation in the MACS program, I was also afforded the opportunity to study Chinese in Hangzhou, China in the summer of 2009.
I am fortunate that I have been able to visit East Asia almost every summer since I was two years old, and I have been able to travel to such places as the Three Gorges, Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, Tokyo, Taiwan, Jamaica, the Bahamas, England, France, the Netherlands, Hawai’i, and Canada. I believe that traveling abroad and experiencing things outside the realm of “your normal” is the only way to gain a more worldly perspective on the relationships between people and nations on the Earth. I am an avid language learner and I hope one day to be able to speak fluent Spanish, French, Arabic, and Korean in addition to English, Chinese, and Japanese.
I hope one day to work in the United States Department of State, helping to promote American interests abroad and utilizing my language and cultural background to improve the relationship between the United States and the nations of East Asia. The MACS program is a great way for me to begin the process of becoming who I want to be.