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College Junior Fluent in Mandarin After Incredible, Immersive Year in Domus

Photo by Borna Saeednia / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Jacob Smith, a junior studying economics in the College, may not strike you immediately as someone who fulfilled his language requirement with Mandarin. But don’t let looks deceive you: after an immersive, challenging, and rewarding year taking elevators up to and down from his 5th floor apartment in Domus, Jacob is fluent.

“Well, sort of fluent,” Jacob corrects, bashfully. “Conversationally fluent. And I haven’t actually fulfilled my language requirement yet, but I’m confident that the placement test will be a breeze.

Ni hao,” he says as a demonstration of his skill. “Xiao long bao. Huo guo. Ting bu dong. Bai ren. Di san lou.” 

At press time, Jacob had already updated his LinkedIn languages section, adding Mandarin to Spanish and Latin, and begun searching for summer internships abroad.