SILS BSIS major Ivan Gomes is one of three undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who received a William D. Weir Honors Fellowship in Asian Studies to study in Beijing, China this semester.
Awarded annually to three deserving undergraduates, this fellowship gives UNC at Chapel Hill students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hone their Chinese language skills, gaining practical work experience abroad in the process. The fellowships cover the majority of recipients' expenses, including tuition, airfare, room and board, textbooks, excursions, medical insurance and visa fees.
As part of his fellowship, Gomes is spending his Spring semester in Beijing, where he is currently living at the Beijing Institute of Education and studying Mandarin at the CET Chinese Language Center. After he completes the initial four-month portion of the fellowship, Gomes will follow-up this experience with an eight-week summer internship in Shanghai.
"When I learned that I had been officially selected for the fellowship, I felt great satisfaction in receiving such a prestigious prize," Gomes said prior to leaving the United States. "I am also anxious about the level of commitment now that the program is no longer a mere possibility. The CET program requires us to take a language pledge: only Chinese can be spoken for the duration of the program. It will be difficult at first, but the benefit of learning the language so quickly will be worth the effort. I've never been to China, but I've studied Chinese for five semesters. It's going to be an incredible experience."