Hello, I’m from China my name is Qi. My major is teaching Chinese as foreign languages, well, so then why did I come here? Well, what do I need to say again haha?
William Ebert: Tell me about yourself.
Qi Zhu: Um, so I was born in Jiangsu, China. it is really near Shanghai. Um, actually I’m not a very, I think that I’m not very good at um talking to people, but I think that I am a good teacher, because I been learning this major for about 6 year and am going to get my PhD. And after that I think I will be a Chinese teacher in China and I think that I coming to Bates, is another challenge for me, because I had been teaching Chinese in China for two years. That’s why I come to Bates, this is a good college, and I come here and want to see lots of American people and and foreign people studying, not in their mother language or area. It is also a challenge because, you know if you are teaching Chinese in China, students can always speak Chinese to another student or to the teacher, but here sometimes they don’t know how to say some words, and if you ask a question, in China, they always reply in Chinese to answer you, but here they always say English and that is why I need to fix my teaching skills and I need to change this way. I don’t think using their mother language is to teach their 2nd language is a bad way to teach so it’s really interesting, I can do lots of research here.
WE: What was your life like growing up in China?
QZ: When I was very young, I was not a very good student if you can imagine that. I don’t know how I can finish my master’s degree and continue my PhD, I don’t know how?! When I was very young, I really hated studying, but my parents were university teachers and they always encouraged me to study and happily they didn’t do lots….they didn’t do lots to punish me, so they just let me relax so I have other skills: I am an archery player in China. I was a professional and can play international games also, and was at the World Cup. So if I quit teaching job, I think I can be archery player mmmm. You know when I come into University, it is so hard, because I am not a good student, you know the university exam in China is very very hard, you need to focus and work 10 hrs every day, it is very hard, and then you can go to a good university. When I went into a university, I told myself: then you can do it, that is not very hard you can do it. So I tried to change my way. Be a good student. I choose this major because I think if you can be a good teacher, that would be awesome and then you can let lots of people and lots students know when you can teach things to them. For instance, for me my English is not very good, because it is a second language and I can them (my students) Chinese and then sometimes they can teach me some English words, or some other language. It makes me very happy. And after my university, I think I want to continue to do the same major, because I think teaching foreigners is very interesting, for example for American people, or Japanese people, or Korean people, Chinese is all a second language, but in each culture they have a different way of learning Chinese, um for example, Japanese and Korean, they all from Chinese characters in part, which means that they do many years of using Chinese characters but even though Japanese and Korean they have some characters like Chinese, they have different pronunciation. So maybe writing for them is very easy but pronunciation is very hard because in their minds, they always think about another pronunciation of the characters. But for American people, they never know Chinese characters. They always mix the left part and the right part and top part, so you need to tell them which part should be like this. I think doing this research is also interesting. I like to research. I have different student get different skills to help them learn Chinese very quickly, and also you know in China we can teach students Chinese in 3 months and then they can talk to Chinese people, I think it is very interesting and so quickly.
WE: Why did you decide to come to Bates?
QZ: In China and in my university, we have lots of chances to teach abroad, but I really like American, and I do research on American people and I have never seen such like a cold place like this! No, I like the snow. I was born in the winter on a really snowy day but in my hometown, it seldom snows and it is not having snow like this.
WE: What do you think of Maine?
QZ: I think Maine is so cool, there is not a lot of people so I can relax and um, I think Maine people always so kind. Really really kind they are so helpful and something. I also I think Bates college is so beautiful I really like the place, and I also talk to students and they are so happy.
WE: What do you think of America?
QZ: So this is my 3rd time in America, and um America is a freedom Country, I like the way to study and to living. They trust themselves and they didn’t lock their home and they trust everyone, and everyone always trusts everyone. In China everyone always we always catch ourselves in place of the us, you always need to prove yourself, but in America you always say not guilty when you need to fight something you don’t need to prove you are not guilty. I think that way is good.
WE: Something you miss something you like?
QZ: One thing I miss from home is food. Chinese food is so good. And on a cold day, you can’t go out for a walk. I miss my hometown and I miss Chinese food. But in the meantime I am ok, I have lots of students come to my office and talk to me and ask me question and be happy here.
WE: What is the most memorable experience you have had at Bates?
QZ: Um, I never had a bad experience, um something that made me very happy, is during the christmas holiday, I flied to Portland, and I um I didn’t find any taxi that come back to Bates and I saw a guy with a uniform with Bates College and um it’s a old lady, and then the old lady come and talk to me and see ask “O are you from Bates? I graduated from Bates so many years ago.” And she said “Do you need to come back to Bates?” And I said yes!, o she said ‘O I can drive you back to Bates, and I said “O my god you are so kind!”, this things can’t happen in China, even if we come from the same school. Amazing you don’t even know me, you don’t know if I am a good person or a bad person and I think it is very good. And I think the funny thing is even in my university we have a uniform, but we never wear that, and I don’t know why in Bates we like to wear that. I think think, lots of students like to use Bates thing, it is like a family.