A Postcard From: Christa Schmidt ’18

Name: Christa Schmidt
Class Year: 2018
Major: Psychology and International Studies
Hometown: Hong Kong

Internship Placement: Children’s Bilingualism Research Center, The Chinese
University of Hong Kong
Job Title: Intern
Location: Hong Kong

What’s happening at your internship?

Since mid May I’ve been working at the Children’s Bilingualism Research Center at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The overall purpose of the institute is to research language acquisition for children in the languages Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Although the days are long, I really look forward to going to work everyday because everyday we’re doing something interesting and new! I’ve been put on a couple different projects, which have really showed me the different facets of research in this field! For example, we did language testing on kids from a kindergarten in Hong Kong on all three languages. I was very fortunate to administer one of the tests and we’re still working on the results from this test. Another project that I’ve tagged along on is that they’re creating a Mandarin playgroup curriculum and I’ve been assisting one of my coworkers on this. Although I’m not as involved in this, it’s been intriguing to see what it’s like to create a curriculum from more of a research standpoint.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Being a psychology major, I’ve been intrigued by the possibility of pursuing research as a career. I really wanted to get a research internship this summer so that I could get a glimpse into the research world to see if this is something I enjoy. From this experience, I can say I’m definitely interested in pursuing research and would really like to continue this path. I applied to this specific institute because they are on the only institute specifically researching these three languages, where these languages hold a special place in my heart. I’ve studied these languages almost all of my life and this internship allowed me perfectly to combine my language and research interests.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

To be really honest, every part of this internship has been my favorite part. From going out to do recordings, to running tests on kids, to being in the office doing transcriptions, I really can say that I have enjoyed every part. It’s all been just like a roller coaster with no down point and a ride that I don’t want to end. Of all the work that I’ve been doing, I really can say that I’ve enjoyed it all. Outside of the work I’ve taken part in, I have really enjoyed the people I’ve been working with. My bosses and coworkers have been nothing but helpful, positive, supportive, understanding, empathetic and just such nice people. They have created a work environment that is inclusive and inviting, making me excited everyday to go in to see them all. I really appreciate the guidance and support I’ve received from them all.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

I don’t have any experience working in a lab before this summer, so I didn’t really have any preconceived thoughts to create an expectation for this internship. However, one thing is that the ways they acquire research is different than what I’ve been exposed to from my classes at BMC. For example, one way that they conduct their research is through recording kids and transcribing the data. Before starting this internship, I didn’t know researchers used this type of methodology. It’s difficult work, but interesting!