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Multilingual Globetrotter

October, 2005
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Belinda Brown   Belinda Brown comes from London and has been in Beijing for just a few weeks.   “I have some Chinese blood because my grandmother is Chinese. I’ve always wanted to come to China.” She hasn’t encountered too many surprises here, but she has found that a lot of Chinese people speak English. 

  After a long night out on the town, however, Belinda Brown realized the importance of learning the language. She bought a CD and book and started to teach herself Chinese.   “I really want to learn to speak in the two years I’ll be here.” 

  Dulwich College Beijing is the second international school she has taught at; she worked at the Bangkok school before. Belinda Brown now teaches Spanish at the Beijing campus, and she is also participating in a Japanese language club. 

  “I used to teach Spanish, Japanese and French, but I think I’m strongest in Spanish because I studied it in university.”   There are about 20 students in Belinda Brown’s classroom. She says it is much easier to teach students of different nationalities, because most of them have already mastered a second language. 

  “If you really want to get into another culture and learn about the people, you should live in that country. With a little patience and determination, you can quickly pick up the language while you are there.” Belinda speaks as much Spanish as possible in the classroom and encourages the students to interact with each other. She also urges them to make use of Spanish language resources on the Internet. 

   "The language gets in, even if you can’t understand the books,” Belinda Brown says. “I interact with a lot of people, so I learn from the students as much as they learn from me. Language teaching doesn’t always involve sharing much personal information, so by giving and receiving information through conversations, I can figure out what the children really want.” 

  Belinda also takes dance classes, which she loves. She wants to visit Shanghai over the October break, but she will go home to see her family in the UK instead of spending Christmas in China for the first time. 

   “It is a long way from here to Britain.”

By Xing Yangjian

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