University of Vermont

CDT Fortin studies abroad in China

At the University of Vermont, Chinese majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad, either through the program offered by the UVM Chinese department or a different program all together.  Even though it would have fulfilled many of the requirements for her major, Cadet Melinda Fortin didn't seriously consider going until she was told by the UVM ROTC Cadre that the Army would fund her trip. 

The first week in China, CDT Fortin went on a study tour with her classmates, seeing many of China's most significant landmarks including, but not limited to, the Great Wall, the Terra-cotta Warriors, and even the 2010 World Expo.  It wasn't until early June that Fortin and her classmates finally got to the campus where they were going to study for the next several months.  By the time they had arrived, all of the UVM students had tasted, seen, and done so many things that they were all completely exhausted. 

Despite this, classes started three days later -- the bulk of which taught in Chinese -- and would continue until the end of the summer term mid-July.  With two more fall terms underway, Fortin used her three week summer breaks both to relax and stay in shape for her return to UVM in the spring.  At this point she'd completed Tai Ji Boxing, Hard-pen Calligraphy, a Chinese culture class, and the speaking and comprehensive parts to her Chinese courses. 

It was all uphill from there.  In the fall, Fortin undertook Pushing Hands, Brush-pen Calligraphy, Chinese Minorities, Chinese Religion, Sino-American Business Relations, more Chinese language courses, and later still (during the second fall term) took Tai Ji Sword, Chinese Painting, and the Chinese language course equivalent to Chinese 201 back at UVM. 

Although CDT Fortin would later tell her friends back in Vermont that her time in China was the most intense period of study that she'd ever undertaken in her life, she would always start with, "China was awesome!"