Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad

Connect with Former Fellows

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The Light Fellowship Student Advisory Committee (SAC) was founded in 2007 by a group of Light Fellows returning to campus after their time abroad, eager to share their experiences with peers, encourage other students to seek the same opportunity, and give back to the Light Fellowship Program.  

Reach out to one of the SAC members below if you are interested in speaking to a former Fellow about applying to the Light Fellowship, choosing a program, spending a term or year abroad, or have general questions about the Light Fellowship experience and studying abroad in East Asia!

Tip: Contact the Light Fellowship office:

  • If you are interested in speaking to a recent Fellow with similar academic or career interests or who did a particular program or term abroad not represented below.
  • If you have questions or concerns about how your race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability, religion, or other identity considerations may impact your experience abroad and are unsure which SAC member to speak to.

We would be happy to share resources and put you in touch with former Fellows who are willing to share their experience and insights into these important considerations.

SAC Members


Hiroko Kawase

BA
Global Affairs (Prospective)
2026

Award Details

Summer
2023
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! My name is Hiroko, a sophomore in Trumbull College. I studied abroad in Taiwan (CET) for Chinese in the summer of 2023 through the light fellowship. I had an incredible 10 weeks of immersing myself in Taiwan – from the most engaging classes, weekly excursions to the mountains, local friendships, so much good food, starting a blog, and more! Please reach out with any questions about studying abroad, Chinese or Taiwan :)


Emily Borr

BA
Molecular
Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! My name is Emily, I am a junior in Pierson studying MCDB, and I studied Korean at Sogang University during the summer of 2023. I loved my experience, made so many friends, and had such a great time living and studying in Seoul. I would love to chat if you have any questions!


Tan Yi Tseung

BA
History
2025

Award Details

Summer
2021
No

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hi! My name is Tan Yi and I’m a history major with a passion for learning new languages. I started Japanese L1 my first semester at Yale and attended the CET-Japan virtual program during the summer after my freshman year. I then took a gap year to study at Nanzan University in Nagoya after finishing my sophomore year. Not only did I improve my Japanese tremendously through living with a host family but I also made many friends from all over the world. I learned to value human relationships more and to take risks and tried new hobbies such as swimming and hip-hop dance! I had such a blast thanks to Light Fellowship’s generous support and I would love to give back by connecting with prospective and future Fellows!


Hannah Lothian

BA
Mechanical Engineering
2024

Award Details

Summer
2020
No
Summer
2022
No

SAC Details

Language Officer
2023-2024

Howdy I'm Hannah, a junior in Branford and I studied Japanese remotely in the summer of 2020. The Light Fellowship really gave me the chance to put my language study into perspective. At PII we were able to talk to program alums who had continued their study in Japanese, and one of the best pieces of advice they gave was, "Your reasons for studying will change along the way." I started taking Japanese because I thought it was interesting, now I find myself invested in Japanese culture to the point where I'm really considering pursuing a graduate program or career in Japan! If you have questions about PII - and how it was online - feel free to reach out to me!


Lisa Dong

BA
Ethics
Politics
and Economics
2024

Award Details

Summer
2021
Yes

SAC Details

Language Officer
2023-2024

Hi, I'm Lisa and I spent Summer 2021 participating in the CET Beijing program. Although I initially didn't expect much due to the program being virtual, but I ended learning a lot and improved my Chinese significantly. I was also able to expand my knowledge on Chinese history, culture, and social norms. I thoroughly loved hearing from natives about their perspectives towards US-Sino topics and felt this was a very enlightening experience!


Will Crystal

BA
Ethics
Politics
and Economics
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

大家好!Hi, everyone! My name is Will and I spent Summer 2023 at ICLP in Taipei. I came in with a number of Chinese classes under my belt, but unsure of my language abilities, and I left confident and excited to continue my language and cultural studies. I had an amazing time exploring all of the art, food, hiking, and culture Taiwan has to offer, and I'd love to answer any questions about Taiwan or learning Chinese. I also spent considerable time playing pickup basketball in Taipei, and I'd be happy to talk more about that for anyone who also likes to play.


Tim Lingk

BA
Political Science
2025

Award Details

Summer
2022
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

嗨!I am Tim and I studied at CET Taiwan during the summer of 2022. I couldn't have asked for a better summer experience after my freshman year! I loved having all the time and resources to focus on improving my Chinese skills, both in a classroom and real life setting. I had the best time with my teacher and five classmates - we chatted about everything and anything over tea or dinner (in Chinese!). Speaking of, Taiwanese food brought me so much joy, as did the many trips to museums, beaches, and mountains I was lucky to go on. Always happy to chat about the program, do send a note!


Natsume Wu

BA
Chemistry
2026

Award Details

SAC Details

Japanese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! I'm Natsume, and I'm a sophomore in Davenport! I studied at SANC (Sun Academy Nihongo Center) in Tokyo during Summer 2023. From the amazing teachers and new friends I made, to the endless variety of places and experiences I got to explore in Tokyo, I couldn't have asked for a better summer! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


Jenny Wong

BA
Neuroscience
2024

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi everyone! I studied abroad in the summer of 2022 at Yonsei KLI and am a rising senior majoring in Neuroscience from Brooklyn, NY in Saybrook College. My favorite part was my weekend trip to Jeju Island, and I would definitely travel to Korea again just to visit that place! A special hobby I pursued in Korea was definitely trying out new cafes. Because there are so many cute cafes in Korea, I definitely tried to explore as many as I could. I also enjoyed meeting the variety of international students in the Yonsei KLI program and would be open to discussing more about my time in Korea. Feel free to reach out with questions!


Lynn Lee

BA
History
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! My name is Lynn and I studied in Taiwan over the summer of 2022 through the Light Fellowship. The past summer was honestly a blur; it was a life-changing experience. I spent almost every weekend travelling (my photo is from the beautiful Alishan and I woke up at 3 AM this day for the sunrise) and soaking in all Taiwan had to offer. I fell in love with the city, the food, the culture, and my classes at ICLP. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


Andrew Deweese

BA
Classics and Economics
2024

Award Details

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

I spent this past summer on a Light Fellowship studying Chinese through the International Chinese Language Program in Taipei. Though the news that we would not be able to attend the program in-person in Taiwan initially brought me great disappointment, I cannot imagine an online program more engaging, helpful, and generous. I spent my entire first year studying remotely at Yale, which arrangement I felt was overall positive: ICLP showed me, to great surprise, that this bar could be dramatically risen. The vital and irreplaceable strength of this online program was the nature of classes: 2 hours, one-on-one, every single weekday. Over 90 total hours of personal instruction with two different professors has augmented my speaking abilities to an incredible extent in a time period I did not think possible. To top it off, I still stay in touch with both professors, and I got to know both of them at a deep level, even though we communicated almost only in Chinese. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about the Light Fellowship or ICLP! This was the best summer of my life, and I’d love to help pass on what I learned! To come across a gem like the Light Fellowship is so rare—seize the opportunity!


Hailey Seo

BA
Global Affairs and Environmental Studies
2026

Award Details

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hi! My name is Hailey, and I spent my summer before sophomore year studying Korean at the Korean Language Institute of Yonsei University. My summer in South Korea was one of the best experiences of my entire life. I was able to study at one of the top Korean universities, meet students from all over the globe, immerse myself in the vibrant culture, and also (as a Korean-American) meet family I hadn't seen in years. I would love to talk about my time in Korea and answer any questions about my study abroad experience, so please reach out!


Dean Centa

BA
Global Affairs & East Asian Studies
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hello!! My name is Dean Kenichiro Centa and I am a junior in Jonathan Edwards College studying Global Affairs and East Asian Studies. During the 2022-2023 year, I studied abroad at Nanzan University in Nagoya studying Intensive Japanese!! I have grown up with Japanese culture my whole life because of my half-Japanese background, but being able to live and learn there for a whole year was a dream come true thanks to the Light Fellowship. During my year in Japan, I got to spend lots of time with my family, travel the entire country, and even watch Shohei Ohtani in-person at the Tokyo Dome for the 2023 World Baseball Classic. If there is anything you want to know about life in Japan, the Light Fellowship, or anything at all, feel free to reach out!


Leo Zhang

BA
Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering
2026

Award Details

Summer
2023
Yes

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hey! I'm Leo, and I studied abroad in Taiwan during the summer of 2023. CET Taiwan connected me with my cultural roots, left me with many great memories that I will forever cherish, and allowed me to grow in so many aspects of my life. Go into this program with an open mind and a willingness to learn in inside and outside the classroom. I was exposed to so much even though I lived in China for a short period of my life.


Kim Lagunas

BA
Humanities
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! My name is Kim and I studied L1 and L2 Korean my Freshman year before studying in Busan for PNU's summer semester. Because of how great the experience was and informative of my own personal development, I plan to apply for Light again in the near future to attend another semester! Please feel free to message me about any questions regarding the Light experience, traveling to Korea for the first time, what Busan is like, or really whatever else!


Sophie Price

BA
Global Affairs
2025

Award Details

Summer
2023
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! I'm Sophie and spent Summer 2023 studying abroad as part of CET Taiwan. I had the most incredible time exploring Taiwan and embracing the opportunity to try new things such as dance classes and even aerial yoga. I also really enjoyed my Chinese classes at the Chinese Language Division at NTU and the chance to delve into Taiwanese elections and history within this. I hope to return to Taiwan sometime soon!


Edward Kuperman

BA
East Asian Studies
2024.5

Award Details

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

I study East Asia because of its unique combination of ancient tradition and dialogue with the West; experiencing the incredible history and diversity of Taiwan while living in the heart of Taipei put me at the nexus of Chinese, European Japanese, Southeast Asian, and American traditions. At ICLP, I studied the local Taiwanese language (on which each of these cultures has left it’s mark) and spent a ton of time hiking the country, Alishan to Yangmingshan to Taiwushan! What made my experience hiking in Taiwan special was learning the unique role mountains play in Taiwanese culture: they represent centers of Buddhist learning, separated the Hakka, Hokien, and Aboriginal ethnic groups, inspire debates between land rights interests and environmental groups, and are the site of many a ghost story! I can’t wait until I can return to explore more of Taiwan’s many historic trails.


Thalia Inui

BA
Economics and Mathematics
2026

Award Details

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hi! My name is Thalia and I spent my summer in Seoul, South Korea at Seoul National University studying Korean! Living in Korea has been one of the best experiences of my college life so far. I spent every day traveling around Seoul experiencing both the more touristy aspects such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Lotte World as well as the day-to-day life aspects of going to cafes to study, having meals with friends, and taking dance lessons (at the TikTok famous 1 Million Dance Studio!). I was also able to leave Seoul a few times to make trips to Incheon, Busan, and Nami Island! I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity by Light to immerse myself in Korean culture and life while furthering my study of the language and hope to do it again if given the opportunity in the future! If you have any questions about the Light Fellowship, my time in Korea, studying abroad, or anything else, please feel free to reach out!!


Jaxon Havens

BA
2025

Award Details

Summer
2022
No

SAC Details

Japanese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! My name is Jaxon Havens and I am a sophomore in Trumbull College. My intended major is History and I hope to go for the certificate in Japanese. I was a Light Fellow in the 2022 Summer through the CET-Japan program at Osaka Gakuin University. It was a truly life-changing experience and I am incredibly grateful for how I have progressed in both my study of Japanese and in my understanding of myself as a multiethnic person in an increasingly globalized world. I would love to talk all about Light, applying to programs, adjusting to life in Japan, and studying Japanese at Yale, so do not hesitate to reach out. 頑張りましょう!


Charlson Kim

BA
Statistics and Data Science
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! My name is Charlson, and I attended the Korean Language Education Center at Sogang University the academic year following my sophomore year. The Richard U. Light fellowship provided me the opportunity to reconnect with my culture and extended family leaving me with a truly unforgettable journey. Along with my studies, I had the freedom to explore the surrounding regions of Korea as well as connect with a truly international community in Seoul. Please feel free to contact me about any questions you have regarding life in Korea or just the overall Light experience.


Matthew Merritt

BA
African American Studies
Global Health Studies Certificate
Pre-Med
2024.5

Award Details

Summer
2023
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi there! I'm Matthew Elmore Merritt, a '24.5 in Branford College from Bridgeport, Alabama. I major in African American Studies on the pre-med track, pursuing a certificate in Global Health Studies. Last summer, I ventured to Taiwan to take courses in Advanced Mandarin with CET. I'm quite pleased with how CET's course textbooks, emphasis on self-directed learning, and off-campus housing placement enhanced my engagement with Taipei by encouraging me to make meaningful, local connections. Please reach out to me at matthew.merritt@yale.edu if you have any questions! :)


Mason Abrell

BA
Physics and Global Affairs
2025

Award Details

Summer
2023
No

SAC Details

Japanese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hey I’m Mason! I studied abroad in Japan with the Princeton in Ishikawa program and had an incredible time. While there I continued practicing kendo as well as learnt more about renewable energy in Japan. If you have any questions about PII or study abroad in Japan, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Cindy Liu

BA
Art
2026

Award Details

SAC Details

2023-2024

My name is Cindy Liu, and I am a Light Fellowship Summer 2023 recipient. I was able to spend my summer abroad in Tokyo at the Sun Academy Nihongo Program, a program specifically made for Yale students! I discovered my favorite Japanese cuisine (dango and cold udon), watched fireworks with new friends through the Japanese buddy system, consistently challenged myself adhering to the language pledge, and developed a love for discovering Ikigai (reason for living) through Japanese arts. If you have any questions about the Light Fellowship, Sun Academy, or your first trip to Japan, feel free to reach out to me!


James Richardson

BA
Ethics
Politics
and Economics and East Asian Studies
2025

Award Details

Academic Year
2022-2023
No

SAC Details

Japanese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! My name is James and I spent the 2022-23 academic year at International Christian University through the Middlebury in Japan program as a Light Fellow. As I am a heritage speaker of Japanese, this program's heritage track courses really helped me hone my language skills. Outside of the classroom, I was able to travel a lot and see so much of the country. I also have great memories of campus life, as I was able to make many friends in my dorm and on the school's basketball team. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!


Caitlin Hong

B.A.
History & Economics
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I attended Yonsei’s Korean Language Institute during the fall quarter of my junior year. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so thankful to the Richard U. Light fellowship which allowed me to reconnect with my extended family and properly experience Asia for the first time. I made unforgettable friendships at Yonsei, both with Americans and internationals, and thoroughly enjoyed my time abroad. Please reach out if you have any questions about the Light Fellowship, studying abroad or literally anything else!


Hind Omer

BA
Economics & East Asian Studies
2024

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! My name is Hind, and I attended the Korean Language Institute at Yonsei University the summer before my junior year. My time in Korea was truly unforgettable. I discovered so much about Korean culture, explored regions in Seoul and beyond, and met amazing people from all over the world. I would love to share more about my experience and provide advice for any future Light Fellows! If you have questions about choosing a program, navigating life in Seoul, or anything else, feel free to reach out!


Christina Lee

BA
Philosophy and Comparative Literature
2026

Award Details

SAC Details

Korean Language Representative
2023-2024

Hello! I'm Christina and I spent summer 2023 studying at Yonsei University. Being able to study Korean outside of a Yale classroom was truly a transformative experience. Not only did my writing and reading skills improve greatly inside the classroom, but immersing myself in the local community exposed me to the wonderful food, history, and art Korea has to offer. I still think about that one kalguksu restaurant to this day... I look forward to meeting fellow applicants to answer any questions and speak about my experience!


Ross Armon

BA
2025

Award Details

SAC Details

Language Officer
2023-2024

你好!I’m Ross, a sophomore in Pierson. In Summer 2022, I studied at Middlebury Language Schools in Vermont. I am so thankful to have had this experience. If you have questions about learning Chinese outside of China or honestly anything else, reach out!


Tovah Lu

BA
Economics
2025

Award Details

Summer
2023
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi, I'm Tovah! I studied abroad in Taipei with CET during the summer of 2023 for intermediate to advanced Chinese. I learned a lot in a really great classroom environment, and got a chance to be in Taiwan, where some of my family is from. Please reach out about anything!


Elyse Thomas

BA
Ethnicity
Race
& Migration Studies
2025

Award Details

Summer
2022
No

SAC Details

Language Officer
2023-2024

In Summer 2022, I studied abroad with CET Japan in Osaka! Studying abroad enabled me to advance my Japanese and to build community with Japanese speakers after my first year of language classes at Yale. From traveling to different cities each weekend to attending summer festivals, I will always cherish my summer in Japan (いい思い出がたくさんあります!) , and I owe my immersion in Japanese language, culture, and society to the Light Fellowship. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or would like to talk more about Japan!


Wendy Zhang

B.S.
2025

Award Details

Summer
2022
No

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! I’m Wendy, and I studied abroad in Taiwan summer of 2022. I did CET Taiwan, and I had the best time of my life in Taipei! Throughout the summer, I learned a lot of Chinese (especially traditional), met lifelong friends and language partners, and fell in love with Taiwanese food, music, and culture. If you have any questions about CET or Taiwan, feel free to reach out to me!


Ernestina Hsieh

BA
Architecture
2024

Award Details

Summer
2021
No
Spring
2020
No

SAC Details

Japanese Language Representative
2023-2024

Hi! I’m Ernestina. I’m a junior in Davenport College majoring in Architecture. I started learning Japanese at Yale in L1, and have since studied with Hokkaido International Foundation (in-person), Princeton in Ishikawa (remote), and CET-Osaka (remote). Living in Japan gave me a glimpse of how language shapes a culture's way of life, and online classes introduced me to wonderful teachers and lifelong friends. In terms of architecture, much of my design inspiration comes from Japan and Scandinavia! I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to speak with Japanese architects/urban planners


Yingying Zhao

BA
English
2024

Award Details

SAC Details

Language Officer
2023-2024

Hello everyone! My name is Yingying, and I'm a senior in TD. I spent the summer after my first year studying at Ewha University. Though I participated in the program virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was still able to make amazing memories with my classmates and travel around to different parts of Korea, such as Busan. If you have any questions about what your experience in Korea might look like and how to get the best out of your time there, please reach out!


Jerry Feng

BA
History and/or Global Affairs
2025.5

Award Details

Academic Year
2022-2023
Yes

SAC Details

2023-2024

Hey everyone,大家好!My name is Jerry Feng, a current super sophomore in Davenport. I took a gap year to study abroad in Taiwan at ICLP for the academic year from 2022–2023 with Light. Needless to say, one of the best choices I ever made in life: learned so much about my own culture that I never knew before in addition to finding out lots of new passions and interests related to Chinese language and culture. Travelled to a lot of places in Taiwan as well, so please do not hesitate to reach out regarding anything related to ICLP, Taiwan, China, learning Chinese at Yale, etc!


Nina Lin

BA
Anthropology and Architecture
2024

Award Details

Summer
2021
Yes

SAC Details

Chinese Language Representative
2023-2024

I spent Summer 2021 as a Light Fellow with CET China virtually. Throughout the program, I really was able to focus on improving my language skills as well as strengthen my cultural understanding of China. It was particularly rewarding to finish the program with language skills that could communicate complex thoughts and ideas about government, policy, or even Chinese pop culture in Mandarin. I would love to hear from anyone interested in learning more about the Light Fellowship program, or anything related to my summer experiences!