15 December 2017


Take a look at what just a few of our 2017-2018 class of Student Ambassadors have been up to this quarter:


Tyler Brumfield, 20

Center Director, Tyler (bottom left to right) and event attendees

Tyler is a student of Political Science at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and was nominated to be a Student Ambassador by Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA). This quarter he has organized an event for #PengyouDay in collaboration with the University of Missouri Multicultural Center and the University’s Project Pengyou chapter. Tyler worked closely with the Director of the Center to coordinate an event that showcased frank dialogue about how xenophobia can be overcome to improve US-China relations.

He began his Mandarin studies in the summer of 2017 through a two-week trip to Beijing through APSA. He is currently studying Mandarin and aims to rapidly increase his proficiency level. In fact, it was this recent experience of being culturally immersed in Beijing that inspired him to continue studies in the language.

Travelling to China furthered Tyler’s understanding of how the world works, and gave his language learning a sense of purpose. He says, “I became motivated to learn Mandarin in order to converse with locals during my visit. I wanted to be able to share my experience and, most of all, to understand their experiences. These conversations help develop a new perspective, which will ultimately bridge major gaps in understanding.”

Tyler’s experience in China reinforces his long-term goals. He aims to complete law school with concentrations in international and corporate law. He is also considering entering public service as a diplomat.

“I believe my interests are pertinent to society and are focused on the growth of our two nations.”










Zaimarie Cabrera, 13

Zaimarie shown here practicing her freshly acquired Chinese calligraphy skills

Zaimarie is a student at the Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut. She joined our Student Ambassador Program as a nominee of the Yale-China Association. She has been studying Mandarin for three years from elementary school to the present and wants to continue studying the language indefinitely. Her favorite school subjects are language arts, math, and Chinese.

Her Student Ambassador activity report this quarter discusses her experience learning the fine art of Chinese calligraphy. In describing her experience she notes, “…I used a[n] ink brush, ink, and a few pieces of white paper…to make calligraphy. I enjoyed doing Chinese calligraphy; although I am not a professional it was nice to do something different that not many people can do. When you use calligraphy your hand has to be in a certain position in order to do it correctly. Chinese calligraphy has been used for many years.”

Zaimarie is motivated to study Mandarin because she loves learning about a different language and culture. She enjoys being able to understand a few words here and there when she encounters Mandarin speakers in her community in New Haven. Zaimarie also understands the practical benefits of learning Mandarin. She says, “I feel like studying Mandarin will help me with getting into a good college in the future.”


“My career goal is to be a doctor or nurse and if I ever get an opportunity to work in China as a nurse or doctor, I would take it.











Kaia Gray, 16

Kaia Gray is a student at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago, and was nominated to be a Student Ambassador by the Chicago Public School District Confucius Institute. Kaia has achieved intermediate Mandarin proficiency and plans to continue her Mandarin language studies. She says, “Studying Mandarin has expanded my perception of the world. I have even adopted the Autumn Festival traditions at home and at school.”

An excerpt from the presentation Kaia gave in Mandarin about her trip to China

Having studied Mandarin for four years, Kaia has demonstrated a tenacious commitment to learning the language and culture. Recently, she gave a power point presentation in Mandarin about her summer study abroad experience at the Chicago Public Schools Confucius Institute to an audience of peers, educators, and parents.

Her academic interests include biology, biomedical sciences, and Mandarin. She plans to become a forensic pathologist/anthropologist and hopes this path will allow her to travel the world, including additional travels to China. Kaia has already traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai during her month of study at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic through the Chicago Public School District Confucius Institute Program in the Summer of 2017.


“The Chinese culture is so different from American culture. It was easy to become deeply interested in the country’s language and traditions.”









The Student Ambassador Program is a one-year commitment to engage your local community in your study abroad experience and express the importance of deepening Americans’ understanding of China. Applications are solicited on an annual basis in the summer through nominations from our Signature Partners.


Thank you to our supporters—whether you are donating, nominating students to participate in our Student Ambassador Program and/or reading, sharing, and reacting to our content online.