Alex Rankin ’19
Majors: Chinese, Education

Why did you choose Concordia?

The Chinese program is what initially brought me to Concordia. I studied Chinese in middle and high school and wanted to continue studying in college at a school with a study abroad opportunity.

Tell us about your experience as an English Teaching Assistant with the Fulbright Scholarship Program.

I enjoyed my time in Taiwan and my teaching experience went very well. I taught a variety of subjects, including English, health, life, PE, and global scholars to first-sixth grade students at Huaisheng Elementary. My students were amazing! They were surprised when they found out I could speak Chinese and later I came to speak more Chinese than English with them outside of class, especially younger students who hadn’t been taking English classes for that long.

How did Concordia help you prepare for this experience?

During my time at Concordia, I was able to foster my appreciation for learning about different cultures through immersive experiences by participating in trips to Tanzania and a semester abroad in Chongqing. Also, my education classes and student teaching experience helped grow my confidence in the classroom.

What are your career goals?

I am applying to a program at the University of North Dakota to get my master’s in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), which could be used to continue to teach English abroad or to teach English language learners in the U.S. However, I do still want to teach Chinese. Ideally, I’ll end up working at a school where I can teach both Chinese and English.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered with the Chinese education program?

The biggest challenge I faced was that there was not a licensure program for Chinese education at Concordia when I expressed interest in teaching Chinese. This meant that if I graduated before the program was accredited, Concordia technically could not recommend me for licensure. But thanks to the hard work of Dr. Glynn and Dr. Stolle, among others, the program was accredited before I graduated.

What advice would you give to students who plan to study abroad?

Explore the city you live in, but also travel to as many different areas that you can.