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UF grad learning language, culture of Taiwan before visit

BRADENTON — Languages come easily to Laura-Amelie Moore.

Born in Bonn, Germany, and raised in Nice, France, she’s fluent in French and German. After three years of Spanish at the University of Florida, she’ll make it work, too.

Then there is Chinese.

“My biggest challenge so far,” the recent UF graduate said, smiling. “I love learning it, but it’s difficult.”

Moore, 22, is about to get lots of practice.

She leaves Aug. 26 for three months in Taiwan on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.

Besides improving her Chinese, which she also studied at UF, Moore will be a goodwill ambassador, making presentations to Rotary Clubs and other groups, as well as fostering understanding and friendly relations with the people she meets in Taiwan.

Volunteering is also on her to-do list.

“Hopefully, I’ll have to exert myself and use my Chinese more than they have to use their English,” said the 2005 Southeast High School international baccalaureate alum. “I want to come into contact with as many people as I can.”

They’ll be impressed, Stam Stathis said.

“She is a top quality young lady. Very polished,” said the Bradenton Rotary Club president.

Moore came to the U.S. as a sixth-grader, yet has always had a worldliness about her, having traveled extensively throughout Europe.

“It’s in the blood,” said her mother, Martine, a former ballerina and a France native. “I know what it is to see other countries and you should do it at that age. I’m excited for her. Nervous, but excited.”

When Moore vied for the Rotary scholarship — recipients from 70 countries are studying in 70 other nations — her intent was to immerse herself in a country that would test her culturally.

“On an average day here you meet few people from Taiwan,” she said. “Over there, I’m sure it’s not every day they meet somebody from Florida.”

So Taiwan will be a good training ground for Moore, whose career ambition is international diplomacy.

“When you don’t have a source of contact, you start making false ideas or (forming) your own interpretation from reading or from TV,” she said. “You can have much more clarification and understanding when you meet face to face.”

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@ bradenton.com.

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