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.

Ali Crivelli ’14
Ali Crivelli ’14 spent her summer interning at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. Shown here with an exhibit on Chinese fashion designers, she worked in the development and curatorial departments, researching Chinatown’s history and current Asian-American artists, and updating the museum’s fundraising database.

A student’s resolve: sticking with the program

A professor suggested Ali Crivelli ’14 do early study abroad in China, so in the spring semester of her sophomore year, Crivelli plunged into the rigorous program in Beijing and emerged a better speaker.

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“That was a really difficult experience not only because of culture shock but also because we were learning a hundred characters a day and at first it was really daunting. We also weren’t allowed to speak any English,” she says.

About a month in, Crivelli was battling frustration because her hard work hadn’t produced the results she wanted, but everyone had advised her to stick it out, and she did. When the semester ended, during a stay at youth hostel, a woman in another room mistook Crivelli for a native speaker.

She used her Chinese during an internship at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City’s Chinatown. She also speaks French, studied in France and double-minors in theatre and French.

Crivelli  hasn’t firmed up her post-Hamilton plans but is considering returning to China and eventually going to grad school to study Chinese translation or maybe Chinese and French translation.

“That would be ideal,” 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.”