NATHAN MICHAELSON '13

SHANXI AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY '14-'16

Nathan Michaelson graduated in 2013 with double majors in Neuroscience and French and a minor in Chemistry. During the 2013-2014 school year, he resided in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France where he taught English to high school and middle school students. He was a thoughtful teacher, interested in designing lesson plans that synch up with student’s interests, and practical needs. In addition to being fluent in French, Nathan has taken classes in Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew. While at Oberlin, Nathan had a variety of responsibilities that matched his energetic personality. He was a head cook in the Oberlin Co-op Association, as well as an HIV peer tester and educator. When abroad, Nathan thinks of himself as a “cultural detective,” reflecting not only on the differences that he observes, but pondering his own cultural perspectives, judgments and values. Taigu’s cultural norms were fertile ground for Nathan to broaden his perspectives on cultural differences. Nathan has completed two half-marathons. When he arrived in Taigu, he looked forward to learning Chinese and better understanding how China works, but it was in his second year that he started developing the necessary language skills and cultural awareness to operate within the unspoken rules of “giving face” and developing guanxi (relationships). He found himself embracing his many roles as English language teacher, cultural detective, and Chinese language student, observing that “I love learning languages, figuring out grammatical puzzles and developing a new way of thinking and seeing the world.”

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