Ran Tai

Credentials: 2022 WISLI Elementary Vietnamese Student

Language Institute and Level: SEASSI / Elementary Vietnamese

Why did you choose to study a language through WISLI? What attracted you to our program specifically? 

I learned about this program from my PhD supervisor who is an alumni from UW-Madison. According to her, the intensive language program at WISLI is tailored for those young academic scholars in area studies. The high quality and intensity of the courses that SEASSI provides attracts me the most. It really helped me to immerse myself in the Vietnamese language and improve my skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing.

How has studying a less commonly taught language enriched your life? 

For me as a PhD student in Vietnamese history, the skill of reading Vietnamese text is very important for my research. Apart from that, as a native Chinese speaker, learning Vietnamese vocabulary, especially those Sino-Vietnamese words, provides me with a new perspective to understand the regional interaction between China and Vietnam. 

What makes studying a language at WISLI/UW-Madison unique to you? 

At WISLI/UW-Madison, I met many great teachers and classmates. They are erudite and kind. The campus of UW-Madison is very beautiful and convenient. The academic resources that UW-Madison offers are abundant. All of these helped me to immerse myself in studying the Vietnamese language.

How do you plan to use the language you’re learning in your personal/professional journey? 

As I mentioned in my application for this program, my PhD research mainly focuses on the Sino-Vietnamese text. Learning Vietnamese enables me to read other secondary literature written in modern Vietnamese and to do archival research in Vietnam.

What are you most looking forward to in your language program? 

Actually I looked forward to attending the student conference to know more about the research of my peer classmates. Unfortunately, I was not able to present my research at the conference due to the delay of my F-1 visa.

What has been the impact of the  WISLI Tuition Scholarship for you?  What would you say to other students who might be interested in applying for the scholarship?

The WISLI Tuition Scholarship really relieved my financial burden and helped me to focus on studying at SEASSI. For other students who are interested in applying for this scholarship, I would say “please be confident and show your academic ambitions in the application letter.”

Do you have any advice for students who are studying the same language as you? 

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. At SEASSI, your teachers and classmates will help you to improve your language skills. Speaking aloud and being confident is of paramount importance for studying a new language.

What is your favorite word/phrase/proverb in your language?

“Tôi gỗ hỏn tốt nước sơn” is my favorite proverb in Vietnamese. It means the inner self of mine is more attractive than my appearance. I learned this proverb from a second-year student in Vietnamese at SEASSI.