Steyer is bilingual, learning both English and Portuguese as a child, and when her family moved to Shanghai for her dad’s job in 2005, she quickly had to pick up the basics of the Chinese language too.
She took language classes at the international school she attended in Shanghai but also learned a lot through interacting with locals. “It’s much easier to learn a language when you’re living in the country,” says Steyer.
When her family returned to the U.S. during her sophomore year of high school, Steyer wanted to continue studying Chinese so she wouldn’t lose the progress she’d made.
It wasn’t until looking for colleges that she thought about continuing to pursue the language even further. Coming to Messiah, she knew she was required to take a foreign language.
“Since I had already been taking Chinese, I didn’t really want to begin a new language. When I saw that Messiah had Chinese I was able to reach out to Stella [Ye] and learn more about the program.”
Steyer spends most of her days in the lab and hospitals studying to become a registered nurse. It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she decided to pick up Chinese as a minor. Because nursing requires such a demanding curriculum, it is often hard to also have a minor, but Steyer is excelling in both and is thankful for the practical experience she’s gained through nursing and Chinese.
She’s even had the chance to practice her Chinese in China, returning to the country during a May-term trip in 2013. “We spent a few days in Shanghai and I was able to see my old neighborhood and school. Things looked mostly the same, but there were some noticeable differences since it had been four years since I was there.”
Though Steyer’s immediate plan following her graduation next year is to get a nursing job, she would love to combine her Chinese and nursing skills one day, either returning to China or working in a city with a large Chinese population.
-Erin Bray ’10
Posted on April 14th, 2014