EAS Alumna Jaclyn Stone
Jaclyn Stone graduated from SUNY Albany in 2000 with a degree in Japanese, and spent a total of three years in China. From 2001-2003 with the help of Professor Hargett, she secured a position teaching English English at Fudan University in Shanghai. She writes, "With no prior teaching experience many wondered how I would fare teaching extremely intelligent Chinese students the intricacies of English language and American culture respectively. I also wondered that myself. I can proudly say that I borrowed some teaching methods and techniques from many of my most inspiring professors during my undergraduate study in the EAS Department at Suny Albany, Professor Jim Hargett, Professor Susanna Fessler and Michiyo Kaya Sensei to name a few. I remembered their methods, i.e. storytelling/anecdotes, positive encouragement, mentoring relationships with students, etc. In essence, it was their unbridled passion and support that enabled me to forge ahead and make their combined teaching efforts my own.
The first year of teaching at Fudan was so rewarding that I decided to stay on for an additional year. That second year I also audited Chinese language classes at Fudan to improve my very basic Chinese language skills. The courses were helpful but it was the hands on experience of living and traveling China that provided me with the opportunity to interact with Chinese people from all walks of life.
Side Note: To anyone living abroad, I say be brave and make mistakes in speaking. The only way to learn a language thoroughly is to make the effort to communicate with anyone and everyone.
After two phenomenal years in Shanghai, I ended my tenure at Fudan and returned to Albany to consider my next move. 2003 was spent primarily working in the restaurant industry and auditing Chinese language classes at Suny Albany. That year, I decided to take a deeper plunge into Chinese language. Again, with the guidance of Professor Hargett I enrolled into Associated Colleges in China, an intensive summer language program in Beijing in conjunction with Hamilton College. The program was very rigorous and I struggled with reading and writing in Chinese. However, I persisted and completed the program with high marks.
My next China endeavor happened nearly a year later and I was accepted in The Hopkins-Nanjing Program for US-China Relations. 2005-2006 consisted of graduate-level study of China from a Chinese perspective. All classes were conducted in Chinese and all papers and assignments were typed or written in Chinese. In looking back, my accomplishments in Chinese language I feel can largely be attributed to my Japanese language study with Kaya Sensei in the EAS Department at Suny Albany. Her endless encouragement and attention to detail regarding my study of Japanese was paramount in my courage to face another Asian language head on. When discouraged with Chinese writing in particular I always took a moment to reflect on her use humor and charisma when correcting my rather elementary Japanese characters. Thank you Kaya Sensei!
When I consider my undergraduate work in humanities and EAS at Suny Albany and my teaching experiences in China, my mind always circles back to teaching. Since my graduation from Suny Albany, I have traveled extensively, (China, Europe, Southeast Asia) learned other languages, other cultures and met some wonderful individuals all on their separate paths of life. And what I have found is that all these paths interconnect and lead us back to where we first discovered our passions. My passion for Asia started with EAS at Albany and I believe that no matter what path I decide to take next my positive experiences with EAS at Albany will always be an integral part of the journey. "
August 28, 2009