Asian studies major first IUP student to win Chinese Government Scholarship

For the first time, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student received the Chinese Government Scholarship to study abroad in China for the 2014-15 year.

Hannah Frishberg (junior, international business/Asian studies) won the scholarship, which is administered through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, of which IUP is a member.

This $10,000 scholarship will cover Frishberg’s tuition at Shanghai Normal University, room and board and academic conference fees, with the remainder of the money going toward any other travel fees.

Frishberg said she didn’t know about the scholarship until the day before the application was due.

“I came home from spring break and was checking through my emails,” she said, “and saw that I had an email about the scholarship, and it was due on Monday, and this was on Sunday.

“It needed two letters of reference, a transcript, an essay, and you had to do their application. So, I did it all in one day.”

Frishberg is also an applicant to the Boren Award for International Study, a prestigious scholarship awarded by the U.S. government.

Because she was able to modify her pre-existing essays for the Boren so they related to the Chinese government scholarship, she said, applying for the scholarship in one day was much less stressful than it could have been.

Dr. Shijuan “Laurel” Liu, an assistant professor of Chinese at IUP, has been teaching Frishberg for two years and said she admires Frishberg’s courage.

“Hannah is wonderful,” she said. “I think what other students can learn from her is in order to learn a language, you need to be brave.

“The way to learn a language is to make mistakes. It’s like a child; for them to learn how to walk, they have to fall.”

Frishberg attended the Chinese Bridge Competition in New York last spring, where students competed at either a junior or senior speaking level and were also required to perform a talent.

Liu said Frishberg’s performance of traditional Chinese songs on the bassoon, an Eastern instrument, was unconventional and impressive to both the judges and the audience members.

Although Frishberg had only been speaking for about eight months and did not place, Liu said Frishberg’s courage to participate in the competition was admirable.

Frishberg said she is most excited to experience the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.

“We are planning on going to Hong Kong for New Year’s,” she said. “It’s a huge celebration there because it’s been more Westernized, being a former British colony.

“Chinese New Year is in February, and it’s known as this mass pilgrimage home. Everyone goes back to where they’re from, and they spend a whole week celebrating, eating, praying and having fun.”

After this study abroad experience, Frishberg said she may plan to work abroad or go to graduate school abroad.

This opportunity to study and live in China for an entire year will help her decide if being overseas is for her, she said.