Joining Worlds

Say Hello To the 2014 Oberlin Shansi Fellows

Temperatures plummeted into the negatives this Monday, but it also marked the beginning of the new Shansi fellows’ Intensive English Teaching Training lead by Professor Kim Faber. As the Shansi orientation gets underway, it is with great pride that we introduce this year’s Fellows to Asia.

J.F. Oberlin, Machida Japan

Ariel Powell is this years Oberlin Shansi Fellow to JapanAriel Powell, majoring in East Asian Studies, will be the new fellow to J.F. Oberlin in Machida, Japan. A Cleveland native, Ariel volunteers at the Citizens Leadership Academy helping out in the office, and assisting teachers.  She spent her junior year abroad in Osaka with the Associated Kyoto Program where she was the class representative, and she has taught Japanese to students aged 7 to 18 at the renowned Concordia Village Language School in Minnesota. At Oberlin, Ariel can be found at Mudd Library where she is an interlibrary loan student intern, or tutoring through the America Reads program. Ariel is looking forward to using the skills she’s learned in the classroom to engage English language students at J.F. Oberlin. Her energy and passion for Japanese language and culture is infectious!

Jagori Grameen, Himachal Pradesh, India

Christian James is posed here behind a drum. He is the new Oberlin Shansi fellow to Jagori Grameen in IndiaChristian James – not to be mistaken with Christina James – is a Composition major with an ethnomusicology minor in the Conservatory.  He has a robust interest in Indian music and culture that he has pursued throughout his career at Oberlin through the study of Hindustani vocal music and Bhakti Yoga. Christian’s interest in music and culture are reflected in his eclectic pursuits: he is the guest accompanist for the choir at Lorain County’s Rust United Methodist Church, spent January of 2012 in Ireland exploring the intersections of Irish Protestant Identity and traditional Irish music, and this past June he collaborated with a choreographer to create a performance addressing the effects of domestic violence on mental health at the Charlotte New Music Festival. He’s excited to find ways in which he can effectively apply his skills as a musician to just causes at Jagori Grameen.

Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Leila Goldstein, pictured here, won an Oberlin Shansi Fellowship in Asia to Banda Aceh, IndonesiaLeila Goldstein, a major in Comparative American Studies and Theater, is very well traveled and adventurous. She spent six years of her early childhood in Japan; was a recipient of an In-Asia Study Grant that she used to study street theater in Chennai India; and spent one semester of her junior year in the Czech Republic. She is a mentor and leader of Girls in Motion, and during the summers of 2012 and 2013, she instructed high school students at the Cleveland Public Theater in developing a play that toured Cleveland parks. This past semester, Leila, along with a few classmates, created a stunning documentary titled “Rubber Capital” that delved into the lives of two prostitutes living and working in Ohio. To watch the full 15-minute film, click on the hyperlinked title above. Leila’s diverse interests, teaching skills and theater background, along with her thoughtful approach to living abroad and engaging across cultures make her an exciting fit for Syiah Kuala University.

Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Ursula Freidman received this year's Fellowship to Study and teach in BeijingUrsula Friedman Graduated this fall with an East Asian Studies Major focusing on Chinese Studies, and a minor in Hispanic studies. She has extensive experience teaching and tutoring in Spanish, Chinese, and English in the Oberlin community and abroad. In addition to spending the full 2012 year studying in Beijing and completing levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the notoriously rigorous Associated Colleges in China program, she returned to China on a Fulbright Scholarship over the summer of 2013, taking three weeks of intensive Mandarin classes at Minzu University in China and teaching English at a local elementary school for children of migrant workers. She designed an astronomy class and a minority folk song class which she conducted in Mandarin. Ursula hopes to pursue an MA in Applied Linguistics in Mandarin at a Chinese university to become an interpreter and teacher.

Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu, China

Nathan Michaelson received an Oberlin Shansi Fellowship to teach in ChinaNathan Michaelson graduated last spring with double majors in Neuroscience and French and a minor in Chemistry. He is currently residing in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France where he is teaching English to high school and middle school students. He is a thoughtful teacher, interested in designing lesson plans that synch up with student’s interests, and practical needs. In addition to being fluent in French, Nathan has taken classes in Japanese, Arabic, and Hebrew. While at Oberlin, Nathan had a variety of responsibilities that match his energetic personality. He was a head cook at the Oberlin Co-op association, as well as an HIV peer tester and educator. When abroad, Nathan thinks of himself as a “cultural detective,” reflecting not only on the differences that he observes, but pondering his own cultural perspectives, judgments and values. Taigu’s cultural norms will be fertile ground for Nathan to broaden his perspectives on cultural differences. This spring Nathan plans to complete his first marathon.

Shanxi Agricultural University, Taigu, China

theosized2Theo Carney is a neuroscience major with strong Chinese and Spanish language skills. He spent six months in China his Junior year, teaching English over the summer to elementary students in Xi’an, and continuing into the fall studying Mandarin in CET’s Beijing Language Intensive. Theo has extensive teaching and community service experience as a Bonner Scholar, from team-teaching Chinese at Oberlin’s Prospect Elementary School, to being a baker and kitchen assistant at the Oberlin Early Childhood Center. As a neuroscience major, Theo has interned in medical settings during the summers of 2011 and 2013, but he is also deeply interested in Chinese culture and is inspired by the travel writing of Peter Hessler. While in Taigu, Theo plans to record his experiences, and share his passion for cooking with the friends he makes there.

Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Robina Saha was the recipient of a fellowship to IndonesiaRobina (Ruby) Saha, an Art History major, has spent her entire life at the intersection of cultures.  Indian by nationality, Ruby grew up in Indonesia as a child, moved to Australia for two years and then settled down in Singapore where her parents still reside. In addition to English and her mother tongue Bengali, she speaks French, beginning Arabic, and some Bahasa. Robina contributes to the Wilder Voice, and was a Student Blogger during the beginning of her Oberlin career as a resource for Oberlin prospective students. Last year, she was awarded the Laurine Mack Bongiorno Prize, given each year to the most promising juniors majoring in art history at Oberlin. She is currently pursuing an honors project that examines newly opened Islamic art galleries in Western museums and how they navigate a dialogue between Islam and the West in a post-9/11 context.


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