Twelve years ago, I did not know a single word of Chinese. I started my first lesson at age 18, and struggled through that first year. Gradually, I rose to the top of my Chinese class and graduated with highest honors.
I have lived in China the past 8 years. In that time, I have completed a Master's in Chinese and have a trove of life experiences: making sales, running focus groups, holding events, coaching frisbee, forging friendships -- all in China, all in Mandarin. I am fully fluent in reading, writing, and spoken Mandarin, but more importantly, I have an up-to-date understanding on how to interact with Chinese people today.
I want to emphasize that I was not a "natural" language learner. I do not think there is such thing as "natural" language learners. I have found from my own experience that patience, hard work, and a sense of humor make all the difference in learning a difficult thing such as Mandarin.
In terms of teaching, I like to use as many real-life situations as possible, to bring the language to life. Learning a language is hard, but it should always be inspiring.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Middlebury College - Bachelor in Arts, Chinese Studies
Graduate Degree: Johns Hopkins University - Master of Arts, Chinese Studies
1. Health, fitness, and cooking; 2. Ultimate Frisbee; 3. Languages; 4. Social charity and community work