As a native Xi’anese, Wenyi talks about the beauty and relaxing life of her hometown, Xi’an, a lot. Wenyi taught at an all-girls boarding school in Maryland for three years before she returned to Shanghai to finish her Master’s in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She has enjoyed the laughter and creativity of teaching a foreign language. Since the summer of 2012, Wenyi has had the privilege of teaching for the UVa-in-Shanghai study abroad program. She was in charge of the second year classes and also served as the Program Assistant for the 2013 program. Through these two summers, Wenyi has had an opportunity to understand and practice the pedagogy of teaching university students in immersion programs. With her offer to teach at UVa as a visiting lecturer for the 2013-2014 school year, Wenyi was excited and ready to explore the world of teaching and living at a higher education institute. So far Wenyi has found the most amazing thing about teaching at UVa is the collaboration and support she gets from her colleagues, as well as the motivating student body. Additionally, Wenyi is a big fan of the hot tub at the AFC. She said: “UVa has really raised my standards for teaching as well as for swimming!” Wenyi hopes to continue enjoying a balanced work and social life in Charlottesville and to return to the hot tub at AFC as often as possible!
Shuang Sun came to Charlottesville from Beijing. Before arriving here, Shuang worked at IUP (Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies) at Tsinghua University. Since IUP has cooperated with DEALLC since 2008, Shuang was given the opportunity to be a visiting lecturer for the 2013-2014 school year. From 2008 on, IUP has sent teachers to UVa every year to broaden both the teachers’ and the students’ horizons. The teachers also get to learn different teaching methods and skills from their experiences at UVa. Shuang agrees that she “has benefited a lot from this program.” After her year of teaching at UVa, Shuang plans to return to IUP to practice what she has learned. Although she hasn’t been here for long, Shuang believes she has gained a lot. “It did take pains to get used to a new environment, and of course I faced a lot of challenges every day, but I learned new things at the same time which is really great. I like the teachers and students here because they are all very nice and supportive,” Shuang recounts. She also mentioned that she has enjoyed living in Charlottesville because it is “charming and peaceful,” which help Shuang enjoy life and work here.
Luoyi Cai, bottom left (Shuang Sun, top left; and Wenyi Chu, right)
From Shanghai, China, Luoyi Cai has taught fourth year Chinese at the UVa-in-Shanghai Chinese Language Program for two summers (2012 and 2013). When asked what her motivation for coming to UVa’s home campus was, Luoyi replied “The unforgettable experience with brilliant UVa students in this intensive language immersion program helped a lot to improve my professional skills and inspired me to come to UVa to teach.” I feel really honored to get the chance to teach here for one year,” she continued. Like UVa, Charlottesville made a positive impression on Luoyi. “Charlottesville is very different from Shanghai,” she said. “This beautiful city impressed me from the very first sight with its peace and elegance; and UVa with no doubt has made great contribution to its historical charm and strong academic atmosphere. One thing that makes a deep impression on me is that everyone here at UVa has a strong sense of belonging and is so proud of this university and its traditions. With more days passing by, this sense of belonging has surprisingly come into my mind.” Luoyi has also had many positive experiences with her students, as well as the rest of the department. She commented, “I really enjoy teaching the students here who have such strong motivation for learning and can always inspire me with their brilliant ideas in a mutual way during the process of language teaching and studying. I also deeply appreciate the other experienced faculty in our excellent team who never hesitate to share their resources and spectacular ideas, which creates a very supportive working environment!” Although she used to wonder what it would be like to leave the hustle and bustle of Shanghai behind, Luoyi now enjoys the changes that came with moving to a brand new cultural environment. “I’m still in the honeymoon phase with everything here at UVa in Charlottesville. I have gained a lot from this year so far. UVa has opened a door for me. It motivated me to continue exploring and experiencing more of the diversity in culture and education here in the United States in the future.”
Miyuki Kamiya, originally from Tokyo, Japan, obtained her Master’s degree in Japanese Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin. Before coming to UVa, she spent four years as a lecturer of Japanese at several universities. Miyuki is very interested in helping students learn how to communicate effectively with native Japanese speakers in a socially and culturally appropriate manner. She also focuses on meeting the various needs of her students in order to aid in their success. When asked how she felt about her time in Charlottesville so far, Miyuki commented, “I really like the UVa and Charlottesville atmosphere, and I was very glad to meet all of my students. I enjoy teaching and being involved with them in class every day.