In middle school Ellyn Comer was required to take a foreign language. Spanish was full, so she was thrown into her school’s new Chinese program. “I instantly fell in love with the language and continued to study it throughout high school,” Ellyn said. She even took two trips to China while still in high school. Studying abroad in China during her senior year of high school solidified her decision to major in Chinese.
When looking for the right school, Ellyn made the four-hour trip from Indiana to Carthage to meet with Prof. Mimi Yang, the head of Carthage’s Chinese Department. “Prof. Yang was excited about my future, and she was hoping I would choose Carthage,” Ellyn said. “The fact that a professor was willing to meet with me as a senior in high school really meant a lot to me when deciding where to go to school. I cannot imagine studying Chinese at any other college.”
“I cannot imagine studying Chinese at any other college.”
“My career goal is to do international business with China or to become a foreign service officer.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“Prof. Yang is my favorite professor.”
“The Chinese language classes are my favorite.”
“International Relations is my most difficult class this year.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“Carthage has provided me with the opportunity to broaden my connections with China. I went on a J-term trip to Huairou, China, and taught English to middle school students. Huairou is also the hometown of the Target Language Experts (TLEs) who speak Chinese at Carthage. One of the TLE’s was my Chinese teacher, and this summer I got to meet her family and see her hometown.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“My favorite moment at Carthage would have to be the first time I visited and fell in love with the school. I came to visit and meet Prof. Yang, the head of the Chinese Department, and I knew this was the school for me.”
Favorite spot on campus
“My favorite spot on campus is the basketball court between Madrigrano Hall and Johnson Hall. The scenery is so beautiful; you have the tall trees and the lake view all at once.”
Biggest surprise so far
“My biggest surprise at Carthage has been how friendly everyone is. Even though it is a small school, everyone says ‘hi’ to one another and holds the doors open.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“My 8-year-old self would think I am crazy for trying to learn a foreign language that has ‘pictures’ instead of words.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Never get discouraged. Learning the tones and characters may be hard at the time, but in the future you will thank yourself for pushing yourself so hard. Being able to talk to someone on the other side of the world in their native language is really awesome. All the hard work will pay off in the end!”