Thursday, February 16, 2012

Matt Beck to Teach and Tutor at Jilin Institute of Chemical Technology in China

Note:  After graduating as a German Major, Matt Beck spent a year in Nürnberg as a Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant.  He is continuing his love of cultural explorations in China -- and in the wonderful books he reads. 

Liebe Freunde der CSB|SJU Deutschfakultät
   I'm moving to a new teaching assignment, so I thought I'd send another update on where I am and what I'm doing.
   I'm currently staying at the Maryknoll house in Hong Kong, and I'll be moving to northern China to teach on February 20th.  Maryknoll found a job for me at the Jilin Institute of Chemical Technology. I have no idea what kind of English classes I'll be teaching there, but I've been told I might have the chance to do some German tutoring on the side. There's a Volkswagen factory in the area, so there's a sizable German-speaking population and most likely some Chinese people who want to learn.
   I've been in Hong Kong for about two months.  Chinese universities get a large vacation in January and February for Chinese New Year.  As a result, I've had plenty of time for academic exploration.  I've been working on my German, mostly by reading news articles. In terms of literature, I've been reading more Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak and I'm currently working on an The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  I'd recommend Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence to anyone interested on the influence of the West on modern Turkish culture.  Hidden in the text are a few references to Germany's specific role.  Also highly recommended is Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love, which connects the 13th century poet Rumi and his inspiration, the Shams of Tabriz, to 20th century American culture.
   I'm starting to look for things to do next year, and regardless of where my plans take me, I want German to be involved somehow.
   Liebe Grüsse aus Hong Kong (香港)