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Chinese at Carthage

Student Voices

Jessie Bingaman ’16


Arlington Heights, Ill.


Chinese, Spanish

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus has to be right next to the fireplace in the Campbell Student Union. Especially during Christmas season when the tree is set up, lit, and the whole union is just filled with this festive energy.”

After Jessie Bingaman’s sophomore year of high school, she went on a mission trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Jessie was one of the only people who could speak any Spanish on the trip and her language ability allowed her to get to know the locals in a very personal way. “From then on, I knew I wanted to study as many languages as possible so that I could connect with more and more people,” Jessie said. 

Jessie is now double-majoring in Chinese and Spanish and has the opportunity to study two very different languages and cultures. “I love the fact that my majors have given me the ability to travel and meet so many different people from different countries, cultures, and walks of life,” she said. Last summer Jessie travel to China for a month where she taught English. This upcoming summer she will take another J-Term trip to Nicaragua. “The part that excites me most is that I’m constantly learning and will continue to learn for the rest of my life.” 

While Jessie is still uncertain about the specific career path she wants to take, she wants to use her knowledge of languages and cultures to connect to people and continue learning. Another one of her goals is to learn as many languages as possible. “Spanish and Chinese are only the beginning.” 

Favorite professor

“It is almost impossible for me to choose a favorite professor, because all of my professors at Carthage have had a huge impact on me. If I have to choose, I’d say that Prof. Yang and Prof. Montanaro have been the most helpful to me as they continue to push me to exceed even my own expectations.”

Favorite class

“One of my favorite classes this semester is Chinese 2010. It is taught by one of the Target Language Experts from Huairou, which makes for a unique and informative experience. We always have a lot of fun, but we also learn a lot about the Chinese language and culture.” 

Toughest class

“My toughest class has been Interpreting Written Spanish Texts. The class consists of reading and interpreting Spanish works of literature and then writing responses to the works. As an upper-level writing intensive course, it is a lot of work, but it is also the class that I’ve found to be the most rewarding. I have learned so much in the class about Spanish authors, texts, cultures, and the language itself. Even though it is tough, I always enjoy reading the texts and writing creative responses to them in Spanish.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Carthage has provided me with so many opportunities to learn, make connections with professors on campus, and share my knowledge with people outside the Carthage community. Last summer I had the opportunity to take a J-Term trip to teach English in China for a month. This summer I will be going on another J-Term trip to Nicaragua. Also, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work very closely with professors on campus by being a member of the Academic Senate and being the Spanish Department Fellow this year. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences such as the Alpha Mu Gamma National Convention and the WAICU conference.”

Campus involvement

“I’m heavily involved on campus. I’m a member of Circle K International, Honors Council, Residence Life Council, Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Mu Gamma, and I’m Vice President of Chinese Club. I also serve on Student Government as Circle K’s representative, and I am one of two Student Representatives to the Academic Senate. Additionally, I work in the Writing Center as a Writing Fellow and am a Resident Assistant in Denhart Residence Hall.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite moment at Carthage was going on the Honors Rope Trip and meeting some of my best friends. Even though we had only known each other for a few hours, we knew that these would be friendships that would last a lifetime.”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise for me has been the amount of opportunities I have been given in the past year. It’s amazing how many important and amazing people I’ve gotten to work with and the amount of projects I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“My 8-year-old self would be confused as to why I didn’t become a teacher like my parents, but excited at the possibility of traveling across the globe.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Study what you love! Even if other people think your combinations of majors/minors is unorthodox, if you love it that’s what matters. You will be far more successful in something that you love. Also, take every opportunity given to you. Even if you’re a little stressed now and then everything can be a learning experience if you let it.”


Kasey Dallman ’14
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …