There is a distinct moment I remember from my high school days that, while seemingly insignificant, is the reason I have always valued the humanities and humanities courses throughout my college experience. I was walking to a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch nearby my high school when a Taiwanese couple stopped me and asked for directions to a famous pond nearby. I could tell that they could not understand my instructions, so I tried my best to tell them the directions in Chinese, given my limited knowledge studying Chinese in school. Afterwards, they were very appreciative, smiled, and gave me a nod before being on their way, but this small moment made me recognize that the skills I was learning in my math, science, and computer science courses, while valuable, would rarely grant me such an experience.

My knowledge of Chinese, a foreign language and therefore a part of the humanities, was necessary for this moment to be memorable. If I had been unable to help the couple, I would have been disappointed with myself.

– Soravit Sophastienphong (Undergraduate at Duke University)