The following Student Highlight is pulled from the 100 Thousand Strong Initiative, which has a goal of seeing 100,000 American study abroad in China over the next four years. Click here to see the full Student Highlights.
Ming Canaday, a University of Oregon Student, is a former student at the CIEE Study Center in Shanghai, China.
University of Oregon
I am named Ming Canaday, although that was not my name at birth. I am a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in Chinese and International Studies. I have always been passionate about China because I was born there. I was adopted by U.S. parents when I was eleven years old. I was told my Chinese parents probably abandoned me when I was a toddler, perhaps because I had polio. I lived in an orphanage for about eight years, unable to go to school because I could not walk. In 2001, I arrived in Sheridan, Oregon to the most wonderful family. Even though I did not speak English and was illiterate, my parents plopped me into the 5th grade. Somehow I learned English and managed to catch up with my peers. As a sophomore in high school, I heard about the Chinese Flagship Program, sponsored by the National Security Education Program. I started to teach myself how to read and write Chinese. My acceptance into this remarkable program has opened so many opportunities for me.
One of the doors it opened involved studying abroad in Shanghai, China for two months. This was the first time I had returned to China since my adoption. I was honored to be a participant in the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). This is a wonderful program and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to study abroad in China or any other country. I studied in their Accelerated Chinese Program. Justin O’Jack, the person who was in charge in Shanghai told me I was their first disabled student. Although my time in Shanghai was sometimes riddled with obstacles because of my disability, the CIEE people worked diligently to make sure there were no hurdles I couldn't overcome. CIEE turned my dreams into a reality. I was thrilled to be able to go to school like any other normal student. It not only allowed me to fulfill my goal of studying in China, but it also made me realize how important it is for Americans to understand the Chinese people since our futures are so economically and politically intertwined.
Click here to see the full Student Highlights.