Smithville: Hopeful China-bound college student seeking funds

Posted by on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 19:26 - 0 Comments

A Smithville native and Lamar University student is inching closer to furthering her education in a foreign country, but finances are standing in her way.

Samantha Moody, a 23-year-old senior at the Beaumont-based college, must raise $23,000 by Dec. 15 in order to study abroad in China during the spring 2015 semester.Moody

“Traveling has always been a huge priority in my life,” Moody said. “While I have been blessed to have some experiences traveling, I desperately want to experience a culture in a more fulfilling way than a one- or two-week vacation allows.”

With the help of scholarships and generous donations by friends and family, Moody has managed to raise $20,165 towards her goal.

Less than $3,000 away from her trip, Moody said she plans to conduct field-based research on ethnic minorities of the Yunnan Province in China over the 15-week venture.

“It is this access to the ethnic minorities of China and their dying languages that differentiate this program from any other study abroad program that I have come across,” she said. “This unique opportunity to learn about the Chinese cultures that have purposefully cut themselves off from the majority of China is what drove me to pursue this opportunity despite the cost and challenges I have overcome to get this program approved by Lamar University.”

Over the past year, Moody said she has been conducting research on Chinese languages and cultures through the McNair Scholars program with the help of her department chair and professor.

“It was this experience that led me to pursue a study abroad program that assists and encourages their students to conduct field based research while abroad,” she said.

This interest lead her to discover the SIT China, Languages and Ethnic Minorities study abroad opportunity, which includes completing a 25-page research project to obtain 16 college credit hours upon completion of the program.

According to Moody, she is the only student from Lamar University to have been accepted into this particular program, which is described by the college as an academically-challenging program.

“One of the attractions of studying abroad in China compared to other countries is that there are less than 100 speech language pathologists in the entire country,” Moody said. “This has created an extreme need for trained speech language pathologists who are fluent in Mandarin and the other dialects and who also understand the diversity of the cultures that make up China.”

Moody is set to graduate in August 2015 with a bachelor’s of science in communication disorders. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue her masters in speech language pathology.

“By studying abroad in China, leaning Mandarin and conducting research, I hope to become fluent enough in Mandarin as well as learn enough about the 55 Chinese cultures to be able to treat Chinese clients after I complete my MA in speech language pathology,” she said.

Moody said she looks forward to visiting historical landmarks like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City while in China, but looks most forward to enjoying an authentic Chinese meal after the 26-hour flight there.

Thanks to a substantial contribution by the Bordalon family, Moody’s airfare has already been taken care of.

“Thank you all for your continued support; I truly appreciate it,” Moody said. “However, the deadline to pay for tuition is quickly approaching. I would greatly appreciate any and all contributions.”

If interested in supporting Moody’s study abroad journey to China, she has set up a GoFundMe account at Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1252, Smithville TX, 78957.


Article originally published in the Statesman on November 25.

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