I met an incredibly interesting student this afternoon. He’s brand new at Smith’s School of English Kyobashi so he voluntarily offered up quite a bit of information on his job/hobby. His job and hobby are actually one in the same – learning and teaching about Chinese history. For the past 30 odd years, he has been adamantly studying the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Seeing as how I’m also intrigued by the Chinese culture and history, I didn’t mind listening to his adventurous tales that took place in Northern China and Hong Kong.
I suppose that it was just pure luck that inspired me to pick ‘Questions’ from the Intermediate lesson book as his item for today. We were able to exchange a fair amount of information while practicing the different tenses for asking and answering questions. Once corrected, he quickly caught onto his repetitive grammar errors, rephrasing his questions so that he could receive the desired response. He was never reluctant to answer any of the questions that I asked him either. He readily supplied me with information on China, his love of teaching and traveling, and his quest to master Mandarin, English, and then Korean. It’s refreshing to meet such a determined individual who is striving hard to continuously better himself and his skills.
English isn’t one of the requirements for him as a Chinese history teacher. His reasons for studying English are entirely personal. In a few months, he’ll be visiting a good friend in Minneapolis, taking that opportunity to discuss Chinese history with his friend. Up until now, they’ve been communicating in Chinese but he now feels that it would be much more beneficial if they were to use English as their language of communication. His excitement for learning new languages was so infectious that I felt the urge to start studying Chinese as soon as the lesson was finished. Meeting him was most certainly the highlight of my day.