Manasa is from New Albany, OH and participated in the 2018 Chinese summer program in Taiwan.
大家好！我叫美娜，我是高中十二年级学生。这个夏天我去台湾学习中文。（Hi Everyone！My name is Manasa, a rising senior from Columbus, Ohio on the 2018 NSLI-Y Mandarin Chinese summer program in Taiwan.）
I think it is very important to learn different languages so we are able to immerse ourselves in and appreciate cultures that are different from our own. It is always very important to remember that language and linguistics is something that is used in almost every single field. I experienced this first hand in my journey to Taiwan. I am very passionate and am very involved in STEM and robotics in my school and community. I plan to pursue a future career in mechanical engineering. I have also been learning the Chinese language in school for the past 5 years. I have always struggled to see how I could connect two of my biggest passions but this trip really clarified all of the ways my passion was tied to language. When I got selected for the NSLI-Y program I was very excited that I would be spending my summer in Taiwan. At the same time, I knew that I was going to miss my STEM and Robotics and all the outreach activities I planned for the summer.
During my stay in Taiwan I contacted and reached out to one of the local robotics teams and on July 31st, 2018 I was given the amazing opportunity to volunteer at a home support center for children from broken homes. I volunteered to help teach the kids the basics of Lego robotics. The impressive and wonderful part of the experience was that it was all in the Chinese language. I had taught similar lessons in English back home but it was definitely an amazing experience to learn new vocabulary in Chinese, especially because it pertained to a topic that I am very interested in - 机器人 （Robotics）. I learned words such as 马达 （Motor）and 齿轮 （gear）。 I was able to teach a lesson and explain to the kids how to build a windmill and explain the technical aspect of gear ratios all in the Chinese language. I was also able to observe the way that the Taiwanese team was able to teach some higher level techniques. Overall it was an amazing learning experience and I am so thankful for these kids to give me this experience. I was able to work with them, who taught me just as much as I taught them.
This experience really inspired me to research the similarities and differences in STEM education in America and Asia. 通过这次经历，我学到了很多东西，并意识到还有很多东西要学习其他国家的教育系统。（Through this experience, I learned a lot and realized that there is still a lot to learn from the education systems of other countries）
This program really gave me an opportunity how I could tie my passion for STEM and robotics along with my love and passion to learn Chinese. I will forever be grateful to NSLI-Y and American Councils for providing that opportunity! 谢谢 NSLI-Y！(Thank You NSLI-Y!)