“International students should make every effort to speak English. If they don’t, they’ll never learn much about the local people and culture.”
Nancy Lu speaks such perfect idiomatic English that you would never guess her origins. “I’m from China—mainland China, that is. Yep. But I lived in New Zealand for a while, and I went to high school there,” she says. “But I just got here last May, and my family’s all back home. So I’m getting used to living by myself. And, of course, I miss them. But we Skype all the time, so I don’t really feel out of touch.” And Nancy is not one to let the ‘homesick blues’ get her down.
“I’m in the IYF (International Youth Fellowship) club, where we just went to the AIDS Walk in West Hollywood. And it’s great being in the club, because we’re always doing some amazing things and meeting great people. And we get to send people to foreign countries to learn, and also to teach, most often about English.” But there was also another ‘event horizon’ coming up for Nancy and her colleagues as ambassadors for SMC. “Yeah, we’re going down to Tijuana to meet students in high school there. And we’re gonna play games with them, as a way of teaching them English. It’s not exactly a traditional method of teaching,” she says with a laugh. “But it’ll be a lot more fun, and hopefully get them excited about what English—and learning in general—can do to help them find better opportunities.”
Nancy reports surprises about her own learning experiences at SMC. “For instance, my math teacher, Professor Jimenez. To be honest, I don’t like math at all. But the way he teaches, it makes it fascinating and enjoyable. He’s just very clear about the way he presents his material. Plus,” she adds with a giggle, “he makes it almost fun.”
Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.