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Kalamazoo College

Maya Sykes

East Asian Studies

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Major: East Asian Studies
Study Abroad: Beijing and Harbin, China
Best Adjective to Describe You: Chill

In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
The department is relatively small so it's easy meeting fellow geeks who love Asian culture and history.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Don't be afraid to ask questions. In the beginning, I was too scared to talk to ask questions but it helps to make the first move.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Growing up being labeled as the “weird” kid didn't mean I was actually “weird.” At K, I discovered my niche and met people who helped me overcome some of my fears and own my differences.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
I like Intermediate Writing because I took it with one of my good friends and I like to read other people's writings. I get inspired by people's stories and I think it is a fun way of meeting new people.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
I had an independent study focusing on reading Modern Chinese literature.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
After my first year of college I was awarded a scholarship to study in Beijing, China while staying with a Chinese family. Also, while on 9 months study abroad in China I had two internships: one, tutoring a girl in reading (English), the other working in a kindergarten.

What is your SIP?
Teaching Beginning Level Chinese to Elementary students

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Teaching English abroad or becoming a teacher in the States or a counselor.

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