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Xianqin Yang
Difficulty of Being a TA

Time 0:02:42


XY: Um. My school started in January the eighth I believe. Um, the study was okay because I think that we were only required to take, three to five courses, of the courses they were fine, not difficult, and the research I am always interested in research, that wasn’t hard. The hard part was teaching because we had to TA, teaching assistant, that’s party of the scholarship. So it was very hard for the first semester. I remember we had uh—at the very beginning of the term there is always a meeting, actually every every week there would be a meeting, between the course instructor and all the TAs. And my instructor I think that was the course was introductory of microbiology, and my instructor—she talked so fast and I just didn’t get what she was saying and it was kind of hard, but that was not the hardest part.

For that part I could ask around my fellow student what she said and what the instructions were. The hardest part was teaching. Well I could talk, I could prepare well I could talk, but when the student—it was a large room, but when the student ask questions I always feel like there is a—you the distance is far, I felt like I couldn’t understand what he or she was saying, so that part was the hardest part. It was very embarrassing. Yeah it did take a while to get used to, first speak and then listen to the English.

CB: Would you get the students to repeat their questions, or how did you deal with that situation?

XY: Well I just walked to the student and asked, “What did you ask? I’m sorry I didn’t get it.” So, yeah. [crosstalk]They, they understood we were international students and we all spoke different languages. Most of students, really, understood the difficulties that the international student have.

Xianqin Yang was born and raised in Shandong Province, China. After completing an undergraduate degree and master’s degree in microbiology, Xianqin planned to pursue her PhD in the United States. When she could not get a visa for the United States, she decided to continue her studies in Canada. She received a full scholarship from the University of Waterloo.

Xianqin and her husband arrived in Canada in December 2002, flying from Beijing to Toronto, Ontario via Vancouver, British Columbia. They initially left their one and a half year old daughter in the care of family in China, but brought her to Canada a few months later. After defending her thesis in June 2007, Xianqin accepted a position as a research scientist in Lacombe, Alberta.

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