Julia Oak ’10 graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2014 with degrees in sociology and Asian studies. This year she is in Shanghai working as an English teaching assistant at the YK Pao Secondary School, where her former SG Chinese teacher, Tony Jaccaci, is now the head of school.
Q. You’ve continued your passionate study of Chinese long after your first class at St. George's. What fascinates you about the Asian culture?
A. I think two things really fascinate me. One includes the depth and intricacies of Chinese. China has a long, rich history and culture, and this is manifested in the language. Second, being in China, it’s amazing to see how quickly the country has changed. Talking to Chinese friends and colleagues about their life experiences gives you a feel for the incredible amount of change Chinese society has undergone in the past few decades.
Q. What were those first Chinese classes at SG like for you? What do you remember about them? Do you have any advice for first-years?
A. My first Chinese classes at SG were a whirlwind. I distinctly remember Mr. Jaccaci rambling on in Chinese, and I was really impressed. A tip for first-years would be use a sharp pencil or thin pen—it makes writing characters a lot easier and neater! And, of course, make sure you devote lots of time to studying. Read the full interview