Last updated on February 16th, 2024 at 07:45 am

Congratulations To Our
Spring 2024 Scholarship Winners



$1,000 award, free lifetime membership to all languages on Ling

Ling Scholarship Winner


$500 award, free lifetime membership to all languages on Ling

Ling Scholarship Runner Up


The Real Impact of Pan Fried Pork Buns

Take a deep breath. Just say something. Quick.

My mind raced as I finally made eye contact with the cashier.

Too late.

Once again, another person beat me to it, rattling off his order of delicious baos and fried dumplings so quickly I could barely understand his Chinese.

My parents immigrated from China to the US right before I was born. I grew up in Houston, Texas and at home, my Chinese held up enough to have understandable conversations with my parents — I could even write a few traditional poems. So, for a girl who grew up in America, I always thought my Chinese was pretty decent. That was until I was humbled on my trip to China as a 15-year-old.

It was the first time my dad didn’t travel with me. My grandma was busy so I set out early to spend my first day exploring Shanghai alone. My first stop was this tiny dumpling house nearby. They sold my all time favorite food, Shen Jian Bao. These were the most delicious pan fried pork buns and when you took a bite, steaming hot broth would explode out.

I stepped into the small shop and immediately the savory aroma made my mouth water. However, it was also packed. Customers were shoving to get to the front and it seemed like pure chaos trying to get through the crowd. In my hometown, I was used to waiting neatly in lines so I first moved to the back to try and get in line. But I soon realized that somehow I was actually moving backwards and people who came in after me were cutting in front. Furious yet still shy, I tentatively squeezed forward enough to get a look at the menu.


Darn it. It was all Chinese and no pictures, my worst nightmare.

I spent a good minute trying to decipher the words I did know and piece them together like a puzzle. Unsure, I chose what I thought was a soup and pork buns and edged towards the cashier. As people kept rudely cutting me off, I thought back to my hometown, where all these adults would surely let a small, confused girl through first and be kind enough to offer some help. But here, I guess it was a culture shock that everyone truly minded their own business. Seeing all these people ordering dumplings made me understand the importance of taking my own initiative to make things happen.

Through a stroke of courage, I swiftly pushed to the very front and feigning confidence, I spoke my order. Then the cashier asked something I didn’t quite catch. He spoke too fast and I also wasn’t ready for follow up questions. I just nodded, paid, and finally went to wait for my food to be ready.

Stepping out of the dumpling shop, I realized I needed to act with greater confidence here. The rest of the day, I challenged myself to ask for directions as I got lost around the city and to learn how to bargain as I shopped. I know shopping and navigating doesn’t seem too significant, but for me, it was the act of

adapting to a foreign culture that I was proud of. It seems silly but ordering those pan fried pork buns taught me a great deal. First, it made me realize that what I think I understand can change drastically after experiencing something new. And never expect opportunities to be handed to me, I should always take initiative to put myself out there.

Now as I prepare to study abroad, I plan on taking those lessons with me to Copenhagen. I want to experience and overcome both the ups and downs of a foreign environment. I want to immerse myself in Danish culture, meet new people, and get out of my comfort zone in hopes of gaining independence and a more diversified perspective. There’s so much out there that I don’t know — I want to open my eyes to the things I don’t understand and the realities and issues that exist beyond my home. And as a landscape architect, I want to evaluate and apply my existing knowledge through my studies in Copenhagen. I aim to challenge my current design perspective by observing a city that’s the paragon of urban planning. Now a lot more confident than my 15-year-old self, I feel ready to take on my second experience abroad alone — one pork bun at a time.

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Learning Beyond Borders: A Ling Scholarship

As an advocate for language studies and on-to-go education, Ling is pleased to announce its scholarship program — Learning Beyond Borders.

Ling is looking to award scholarships of $1,000 and $500 to the respective first, and second-place winners. Scholarships will be awarded based on eligibility and your personal statement.

At Ling, we believe learning should be three things: fun, effective, and accessible.

  1. Fun: We work towards making our app fun by having both engaging content and an inviting interface.
  2. Effective: We work towards making our app effective by making sure you learn vocabulary and phrases that can be used in real-life situations, and that you receive immediate feedback on your learning progress every step of the way. 
  3. Accessible: We work towards making our app accessible by ensuring that you can learn anywhere, anytime, and at an affordable price.


Note: Students who apply MUST be enrolled in an approved university and be of rising sophomore status and above. For more information or to apply, please see the information below.

Table of Contents:

Fall 2024 Scholarship Applications Now Open!


  • Rising sophomore and above
  • Currently enrolled in an approved 4-year university
  • Accepted into the study abroad program by the application deadline
  • Students planning to study abroad in a non-English speaking country (preferred but not required)


  • 1st Place: $1,000 award, free lifetime membership to all languages on Ling, personal statement posted on this scholarship page and Ling social media channels (if interested)
  • 2nd Place: $500 award, free lifetime membership to all languages on Ling, personal statement posted on our scholarship page and Ling social media channels (if interested)

Application Process

  1. Gather all required documents
  2. Prepare personal statement (video or essay)
  3. Apply to our scholarship using the link ‘Apply now’ below
  4. Wait for our response via email

Personal Statement Requirements

Remember that your personal statement, whether essay or video, should not only answer the prompts, but should showcase your personality. Our previous winners were chosen due to their statements being personable over formal.
Option #1: Written Essay

Please give your essay a captivating title and write 700-1,000 words answering one of the following prompts:

    • Why are you studying abroad?
    • What impact do you plan to make by studying abroad?
    • Describe a moment when you were personally challenged by learning a new language, educational issue, or traveling abroad in the past. How did you overcome that challenge and what did you learn from it?
    • How many languages do you speak and what are they? What was your process for learning that other language(s)? (only for those who are nearly fluent or fluent in more than one language)
    • What is the spoken language of the country you’ll be studying in? What are your language learning plans? How do you plan to adjust to/learn/practice the language? (only for those who are studying in a non-English speaking country)

Option #2: Video Essay

Record a 5-7 minute video addressing one of the following prompts:

    1. Describe a challenging moment you faced (academically or personally). Discuss how you overcame that challenge and what you learned from it.
    2. What do you hope to gain by studying abroad?
    3. What is the spoken language of the country you’ll be studying in? What are your language learning plans? How do you plan to adjust to/learn/practice the language? (only for those who are studying in a non-English speaking country)

Make sure you also include all these points in your video:

    • First name
    • Age
    • College/University
    • Current year
    • Major(s)/Minor(s)
    • Why you were interested in applying for this scholarship


Fall 2024: July 15th