Nin hao! Konnichiwa! Bonjour! and there's more where that came from.
I love languages, as you can tell. What I love even more is being able to interact with the astounding breadth and length of people, whose ideas and values are remarkably unique, as shaped by their respective environments/. What began as a childhood fascination burgeoned into a lifelong pursuit, both professionally and personally. I grew up in a multilingual family that has inculcated in me the desire to know and appreciate all groups, regardless of ethnicity, creed, economic status, and so forth. Ever since I was able to read, I immersed myself in vicarious world travel, which was shortly realized. From my biological homeland of Belarus (a former Soviet Republic) to my spiritual homeland of America and all the nations in-between, I chose to learn and understand the various nuances of expression, from one language to another. During each of my trips, I set for myself the goal of breaking the barriers by utilizing the tongue of that society. I briefly lived in Lithuania and Russia as a child; I alter had the chance to visit Germany and the Netherlands; as a teenager, I partook in excursions to France and the Middle East. Then came the vacations in Montreal, Cancun, and the Bahamas.
Although I anticipated seeing the world and possibly working internationally, I had not expected the extent of opportunities that would come my way from age eight, onwards. Eight was the age I became enamored with Japan; the catalyst was hearing a then-unfamiliar song on the radio in a language other than Russian or Belarusian (a somewhat rare occurrence in the then-Russian-centric USSR media). Upon finding out the source, I embarked upon a solo journey to master two languages: at the same time, I was fervently studying English. I would spend hours on end, reading the dictionary out of sheer enjoyment, not to mention listen to English-language tunes and try to decipher film dialogue without relying on subtitles. This paved the way for the life-changing trip two years later.
Shortly before celebrating my tenth birthday, I received the news that America is the place to realize my ambitions. The fact that healthcare and education were significantly better was an unmistakable asset. Before I knew it, a crash course in a different culture was in full swing, and I had to make the most of the new environment by plunging into an intensive ESL program. For a year-and-a-half, I participated in lectures, reading and writing exercises, and various interactive games. One of my favorite lessons involved reading and analyzing The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe; the instructor and fellow students picked apart the characters and plot lines, attempting to relate each of the cultural and religious references to their respective social enclaves (Ukrainian, Chinese, Spanish, and Russian). If one did not comprehend a passage, a translation was provided. Thus, we passed the time, and in a six-month period, both my teacher and I noticed that I was near fluency. Before long, I was forming study groups with my ESL colleagues and giving them helpful hints.
Junior high and high school were filled with a continual series of language courses, of which I could not get enough (pardon the frankness). I went on to study Spanish, French, and German; Japanese was still a solo project until I entered my undergraduate studies. I enjoyed all three languages in middle school, albeit French became my passion. For four years, I participated in a series of projects, most of which involved creating mock quizzes to review certain units. While each classmate participated, the instructor took particular notice of mine, thus encouraging me to consider tutoring as a possible career option for the future.
In high school, I joined the French Honors Society and participated in two consecutive Oral Proficiency Competitions, earning a silver and gold medal, respectively. Furthermore, I received the French Excellence Award shortly before beginning my undergraduate studies.
College opened even more doors for me, as I was free to expand upon my linguistic knowledge and skills. Eager to broaden my horizons, I embarked upon courses in Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. While I finally came upon the chance to have individual instruction in Japanese, taking the course in college allowed me to compare techniques. The real test was undeniably my sojourn in Japan during the senior year of Temple University, where I was able to participate in the study abroad program at Temple University, Japan Campus. Three-and-a-half months of constant interaction with the Japanese were as effective a fuel as the move to America, fourteen years prior. Safe to say, I am still learning, for there is much to master in a tongue that boasts an intricate syntax and three distinct writing systems. Fortunately, my zeal to learn multiple tongues makes the process easier with each new “project”. What I would like most is to impart some of my experiences, ideas and above all, openness, to those individuals with the desire to master a language. I am confident that my joining the team of dedicated ESL tutors will prove worthwhile to my colleagues, students, and myself.
Thank you, and I look forward to making a connection!
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