Jack Brayton, a 2016 Hardin Valley Academy graduate, will go back to high school but this time in China.
Brayton, son of Andrea Bray-ton, has received a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship to study Chi-nese in China for the 2016-2017 academic years.
“I feel honored to get the scholarship,” he said.
Brayton is one of about 600 competitively selected students from across the United States to receive the scholarship, with which students can use to study Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian or Turkish this year, Tyler Singleton, American Councils for International Education spokes-man, said.
“I didn’t expect to get [the scholarship],” Brayton said. “A part of me knew I worked really hard to get it but another part of me knew the odds were pretty low. There were 5,000 applicants and about 600 were chosen.”
He will spend 10 months studying at Beijing No. 80 High School, a private school, in Beijing. Brayton will depart Aug. 31 from Tennessee for Washing-ton, D.C., and then arrive in Beijing Sept. 2. While in China, he will take one class, Chinese.
“But, it will be intensive studying,” Brayton said. “I just wonder what I will do the rest of the day.”
Not sure if he received the scholarship, the HVA graduate said he started looking at colleges, such as University of Mississippi.
He also is considering attending Pellissippi State Community College.
After he completes his Chinese course, Brayton said he is considering three career paths: Video editor, going into international business or pursuing a career as an Internet alternate reality game storyteller.
“With international business, my learning Chinese would help me interact with other people,” he said.
Brayton said initially he wanted to learn Japanese.
“I took Chinese to help with that,” he said. “Then I learned Chinese was a fun language to speak and had an interesting culture.”
Brayton also had some familiarity with the Chinese language.
“I traveled to Taiwan in the 10th grade for a school trip,” he said. “That cemented my desire to learn the language.”
The NSLI-Y program is administered by American Councils for International Education in cooperation with AFS-USA, American Cultural Exchange Service, AMIDEAST, iEARN-US, Legacy International, Russian American Foundation, Stony Brook Univer-sity, University of Delaware, Uni-versity of Minnesota and Univer-sity of Wisconsin.
Its purpose is to increase the number of Americans who can engage with native speakers of critical languages, Singleton said.
“The goals of the NSLI-Y program include sparking a life-long interest in foreign languages and cultures, and developing a corps of young Americans with the skills necessary to advance international dialogue and cross-cultural opportunities in the private, academic, and government sectors,” he said.