“When I was young, they showed special movie on Veteran’s Day in my small village. My dad was in the army and he’d be like, ‘You're only thirteen, you’re not supposed to watch it. But okay. I’ll take you but you don't say anything.’ I watched this movie and I said, ‘Oh, my God. All these people, they look different but they speak perfect Chinese." Obviously, people were dubbing it! I wanted to learn that. They said, ‘They speak English.’ So I said, ‘Wow, that is so beautiful. I want to learn English.’
So the radio offered English lessons. You could listen to it. So, I listened to it, but my pronunciation was terrible. My late grandfather was like, ‘What are you talking?’ He’d say, ‘It's not even close!’ So... you get the motivation, I wanted to learn.
Most people want to be doctors and lawyers. I said, ‘I want to learn just English.’ They had a degree for English. So, I literally went to college to learn English. My parents, they're working class. They said ‘We don't know what college for, all we know is good for you.’ I became an interpreter and now I’m teaching Chinese.
Here (at Tulane), the students are different. They have different walks of life and they have different majors: History, Communications, Finance. They all want to do something with their lives. They say Chinese would be a great language to learn so I think they're very highly motivated. There is always something new for me to learn. I thought, ‘Wow, this is cool.’ I get to learn from them while teaching Chinese.”