Matt Klinkel is used to speaking and reading foreign languages: His email account is set to Spanish; he reads French and Spanish newspapers; and his phone and Facebook account are set to Chinese (although he says he switches it to Spanish occasionally).
But this summer, Klinkel will take his passion for language study to a new level when he pledges to speak only in Chinese for two months while studying in Suzhou, China, as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program.
The New College of Florida junior began studying Chinese during his sophomore year of college. He taught English during the summer of 2012 in China and returned in January 2013 for an independent study program.
“I wanted a language that would be more global, challenging and that would lead to more job opportunities,” said Klinkel.
Klinkel fell in love with languages in high school. He began studying Spanish in 10th grade and French in 11th grade. By his senior year, he was able to speak both languages fluently because he had checked out advanced textbooks and studied them on his own.
Klinkel is studying second-language acquisition, a concentration of psychology, at New College. After college, he plans to pursue a doctorate in second-language studies at the University of Hawaii or become a foreign service officer with the State Department.