Brendan Dowling had never studied Chinese—or any other foreign language—when he received a grant to travel to China during his first year as a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
After returning to Madison after his semester abroad, Dowling, of Carpentersville, Ill., enrolled in several Chinese courses. In fact, he enjoyed it so much that he decided to major in Chinese.
In just two-and-a-half years of study, Dowling’s Chinese speaking and listening skills had reached an advanced level. Then, he gave his language learning a further boost by returning to China in 2013 through the 11-week UW Intensive Chinese Language Program at Tianjin, a summer program offered by International Academic Programs (IAP).
While many UW–Madison students enroll in study abroad programs to advance their language studies, what distinguishes the summer program in Tianjin is its intensive focus on perfecting students’ knowledge of the Mandarin Chinese language. Participants earn a year’s worth of language credits in one summer session.