Lizeng HuangOctober 20, 2016 

By Simon Goodacre | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Lizeng Huang, MA’15, was studying at Minzu University in China when he was introduced to Yu Feng and the Brandeis program in Teaching Chinese. “I was very interested to attend a program that actually provided the chance to teach at an American college,” says Lizeng. “Brandeis is no doubt the best choice. All the courses and practicums prepare you for teaching at college level.”

When he arrived on campus, Lizeng was struck by the sense of community in the program. “I feel like the faculty are more like friends rather than teachers,” he says. “I have to say that Professor Feng and Jian Wei helped me a ton!” The students support each other a great deal as well. “We had meetings every Friday to to help each other to improve our teaching abilities and prepare for the next week's classes.”

It is very clear to Lizeng that the practicum course is the most beneficial part of the experience. “It is the essential course that gives you the chance to teach at the college level,” he says. “The experience is precious. I got to know my strengths and weaknesses from teaching at Brandeis, and then, with the help of our faculty, I improved and became qualified to teach in college in only one year. Isn't that amazing?”

Lizeng has already parlayed his academic work into a position at Western Kentucky University, which has a prestigious Chinese language program sponsored by the Language Flagship, an initiative of the National Security Education Program within the Defense Language and National Security Education Office. “I saw that WKU had posted a vacancy on The Chinese Language Teachers Association website, so I applied,” he says. “Then after several interviews and teaching demonstrations, I finally got the offer.” 

Flagship focuses on supporting students in reaching a superior level of Chinese proficiency during their undergraduate career. Students participate in many intensive Chinese language opportunities in the U.S. and China and participate in a Capstone Year in China.

Even though he is settling into his new role, Lizeng still has a soft spot for Brandeis. “The Chinese students in Brandeis are the best,” he says. “I love my students and they are still keeping in touch with me. What I am especially proud of is that no matter which way they contact me, they always use the Chinese they have learned in class to ask their questions. I think Brandeis provides a perfect program to become a good teacher and gives the students a perfect program to learn Chinese.”