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Chinese Spotlight

“College is so much more than getting in and getting out. It’s about opportunities.”

Thomas Amburn: Seizing Opportunities

When Thomas Amburn ‘15 began his college search, he knew he wanted to find a school with a small campus and an active, tightly knit community. At Transylvania, where the student body of just over 1,000 supports more than 60 student organizations, he found the perfect fit.

Amburn is now a biology major and Asian studies minor with his hand in a variety of campus activities. He is a resident advisor and active in the Chinese Club, the Transylvania student admissions program Crimson Crew, and the community service program for refugee children called TUTORS.

Amburn’s hunger for a more global perspective drew him to study China, the U.S.’s largest trading partner and a critical player in international affairs.

“I find China mysterious and interesting. The program has given me a desire to learn about other cultures, as well as a greater perspective of the world around us and how I play into that.” 

Thomas Amburn

Under the direction of professor Qian Gao, a Chinese native, the program exposes students to language in the context of culture. Amburn recalls one afternoon when professor Gao invited both American and Chinese students for an authentic Chinese meal. “It was a great out-of-class experience for students to practice Chinese and learn about the culture and food.”

Transylvania embraces globalization as one of its core values and commits itself to preparing students to be leaders in an interconnected world. Now, globalization is a core value for Amburn, too. He believes that studying Chinese language and culture has enabled him to be a better global citizen by “understanding the differences between ourselves and the people of another country, and learning to enjoy those differences.”

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