Thursday, May 22, 2014

Interview with Kate

You could realize that some of the last blog posts were reviewed by Kate. I asked some questions about her. So I decided to conduct an interview with her after other excellent teachers from Georgia (Gardeniafly) and Jamie (who is a great TOEFL teacher). So welcome Kate from Atlanta, Georgia.

- Hi, first of all, please introduce us you educational background.

- I find my education very interesting. I lived in the same town all of my life, so I had my elementary school, middle school, and high school at the same place. It’s about one hour drive from Atlanta. So I saw the same people for most of my life. About college, University of North Georgia is in my hometown in Georgia. It’s a very small sort of local college, it has about 5-6,000 students. When I first went there I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. Finally, I began to learn Korean and I decided to learn international relations focused on East Asia.

- So your main studies concentrated on international relations, and your minor was Korean.

- Yes, my minor was Korean.

- You mentioned several times that you spent some months in South Korea. How did you get there?

- At that time, my university didn’t offer the classes I needed to get the minor, that’s why I had to go overseas at least for a summer semester. But I chose to go there for a whole semester because I got more financial aid to be able to cover my trip.

- How could you arrange this trip?

- My University in the United States has several partnerships with other universities overseas such as Sogang University in Seoul. So it was a kind of exchange partnership in South Korea. And of course, Korean students came to my university in the States to study. To be in Korea was interesting for me because in my Korean classes at home I had native English speakers with me in the class, so we often switched back to English when we didn't understand something. But being in Seoul quite long at Korean classes was different. It was me and 13 native Chinese speakers. Nobody really knew English, so when I had a problem I had to communicate in Korean. It was a pressure on me to study Korean, to practice vocabulary, and to make friends when I was there.

- Did you study anything else beside Korean language?

- I had couple others courses like political science. Most of my classmates were Korean, a few from America, a few from Europe maybe France, but I had 4 hours a day in Korean entirely Korean. I had to speak 24/7 to find the way to express yourself. I am not perfect but I learned a lot.

- I also know about you that you played some music, maybe trumpet. When was it?

- It was in elementary school, then I moved to middle school and we had an option of joining music band or course or we were forced to go to PE class, so I chose to join the band. Originally I started out playing trumpet and ended up switching to French horn. Music always was important part of my life so being able to produce music on my own was really cool for me. Because I like to study languages, I found that music had its own language. When you listen to a song maybe you don’t understand the words of it but you understand the melody and the feeling of the song.

- Do you still play on any instrument?

- No, I don’t do it any more. It’s a very expensive instrument to purchase (like $4,000) and it’s not my budget. When I learned music I hired a trumpet from a local music store. Maybe in the future I’ll play again, I don’t know yet.

- What do you like doing in your free time? Do you like reading?

- Yeah, I love reading. A few years ago, my parents bought me an e-reader for my birthday so it’s my night time tradition- I lay in bed, drink tea and read a book so I’m always reading. I’m always downloading new books.

- Let’s speak about teaching English. When and how did you begin to work on ITALKI?

- Here, on ITALKI I began to teach English in late February. But when I was overseas I had friends studying English in college, and I was a kind of tutor. In this year, I was looking for a job and I had a lot of free time, so I decided to study Chinese. I was searching language exchange partners on ITALKI and I saw there was a need for English tutors. I decided to sign up and here I am.

- What do you think the most interesting in teaching through ITALKI?

- I think it’s very interesting because I’m able to meet people from all over the world. You know, my community here is very small and there is no variety of people to meet. Today I have lessons with you from Hungary, people from China, Spain, South America, and Southeast Asia. It’s a great opportunity to get to know each other’s country. I do enjoy that part. It’s very rewarding for me when I’ve been working with somebody for some weeks and I can tell that his or her English is improving. It’s always enjoyable.

- Why do you think it’s important for even native English speakers to know other languages? I ask it from you because I met that thought “I’m a native English speaker, and it’s spoken all over the World so I don’t need to know other languages.”

- It’s all around me. It’s so frustrating. You know we have a small community with Hispanic immigrants and here people don’t want to speak a little bit of Spanish because “this is America and we should speak English.” People here think they can survive just knowing one language. But I think even with small proficiency in another language it can help in your life such as travelling, getting new job, something like that.

- Thank you very much.

- You’re welcome.

I hope you like this interview with Kate. Anyway, she is searching new students again on her ITALKI profile. Her lessons are awesome and enjoyable.

That's it, and thank you so much for using Challenge of Learning US English. :)

Bye - bye,


1 comment: