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Chinese

Chinese is critical to a wide range of professions and interests, and your courses aim to prepare you for any opportunity. You will study the region’s changing identity and China’s literature and culture. You may decide to study in Beijing with the rigorous Associated Colleges in China program.

Maraina Adams ’17
Maraina Adams ’17

A student’s success: a first-year award for excellence

After four years of Chinese in high school, Maraina Adams ’17 started Hamilton College figuring she would minor in the language. However, faculty members spotted her for a potential concentrator. Clearly, her professors were on to something: At the end of her first year, Adams won the College award for excellence in Chinese language and literature at the introductory level. She plans to minor in art, major in Chinese and study abroad with the Associate Colleges in China program.

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“The Chinese program is so strong because of the faculty. It’s really amazing that the introductory Chinese class has five professors who all get to know you and are all focused on helping you to improve. Even though the work can be intimidating at times, the faculty are extremely approachable and encouraging,” Adam says.

The College’s reputation for Chinese and its open curriculum were among the reasons Adams picked Hamilton. “But the main factor that drew me to the school was the atmosphere I found when I visited. I could feel the community was one where I would feel at home, and that I’ve come to love,” she says.

Ellen Esterhey, center, on the campaign
Ellen Esterhey, center, on the campaign

A graduate's progress: a stint in high-profile politics

Ellen Esterhay ’14, who double-majored in Chinese and world politics, went from Hamilton to a position in a high-profile, high-pressure political campaign. She landed an internship and then a job as a press assistant in Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ effort to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Her candidate lost, but Esterhay loved the experience. “I think working a campaign can be pretty grueling, but it’s really great knowing you’re going to work every day doing something that you believe in,” she says.

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She says she already knew how to work hard from her Chinese coursework, especially from her semester in Hamilton’s study program in Beijing. The flipside of the hard work, she found, was rapid progress in learning the language. Esterhay wants to return to China and harbors a longer-term goal of a career in which she can use her Chinese, maybe in government or foreign relations. She feels prepared for whatever. “I didn’t fully realize everything my time at Hamilton gave me until I left,” she says. “As a student at Hamilton, in everything you do, you’re learning how to problem-solve, how to adapt and pick up things quickly, and write - especially learning how to write.”