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UW-Eau Claire Student to Teach in Japan

RELEASED: May 1, 2009

Mee Xiong
Mee Xiong

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student was chosen to teach English in Japan this fall thanks to a sister state partnership program started in 1990 between Wisconsin and the Japanese city of Chiba.

Mee Xiong, who is from Eau Claire, was accepted by the Wisconsin Chiba Sister School program administered through the Wisconsin Department of Instruction to be an assistant language teacher at a school in metro area of Chiba, Japan. Xiong, who will graduate in May with a degree in French, is one of four Wisconsin students to be accepted to the program.

"It's a highly competitive program," Xiong said. "I'm really lucky to be chosen."

Xiong, who has teaching-English-as-a-foreign-language certification, will assist the teacher, do lesson plans and teach or co-teach with other assistant language teachers in high school English classes. She will work 35 hours a week and has a year contract, which is renewable up to five times. The program provides an apartment, pays half the assistant teacher's rent, covers transportation costs and provides a monthly stipend. Free Japanese language classes also are provided.

Xiong, who served as a counselor at English immersion camps in Japan for two summers, already knows a small amount of Japanese.

"I know enough to get around on my own, but the language classes will help me adjust to the culture," she said.

Xiong noted that once she masters Japanese she will know four languages. She also is fluent in Hmong, English and French. She added she is glad to be going back to Japan.

"I am looking forward to seeing the host families I met while at summer camp," she said. "There's also something about Japan I really like. I love going to the Japanese temples. They are so peaceful. I'm looking forward to experiencing life in Japan again."

-30-

KH/JP

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