As part of a series here at The Bates Student, our News section has interviewed different foreign language teaching assistants (TAs) in an effort to better understand Bates’ foreign language department.

Throughout the series, we have aimed to seek greater insight into the invaluable work the TAs and learning associates do to provide Bates students with a fully dimensional language experience that allows us to strengthen our foreign language skills through intercultural exchange. As most foreign language students at Bates will tell you, the assistance of Foreign Language TAs is precious: whether you need help preparing for an exam, practicing a different alphabet, or simply want to converse with a native speaker.

This week, I spoke to Jing Tian, a learning assistant from the Chinese department.

The Bates Student (BS): What is your name and what do you do at Bates?

Jing Tian (JT): Jing Tian. The Chinese learning associate.

BS: Where are you from?

JT: Nanjing City, China.

BS: Why did you decide to teach Chinese? Why did you choose Bates?

JT: Teaching Chinese as the Second Language is my major. And it’s interesting to teach Chinese. Bates is a good college. It has cooperation with my university in China.

BS: How long have you been at Bates?

JT: Since last September.

BS: What has been your favorite part of teaching at Bates? Has anything been challenging?

JT: My favorite part has been teaching Chinese grammar, as well as showing Chinese traditional culture, such as papercutting and Chinese calligraphy. Chinese tones are difficult for students, so it is a little challenging to make them pronounce correctly.

BS: Have you ever taught or experienced the education system in China? If so, do you know of any differences between the Chinese and American education systems?

JT: Yes. I taught international students in China before I came Bates. The international students have more Chinese classes than students at Bates, and the number of students in a class in China is bigger.

BS: Do you have any advice for students learning a foreign language?

JT: Practice makes perfect. They can find a native speaker as a language partner.

BS: Will you be staying at Bates indefinitely? If not, Do you have any plans after Bates?

JT: No. I will go back to China in April. I’m still a postgraduate student, so I want to get my master degree firstly.