There are so many fascinating Kates out there. And every week, Kate-book.com is resolving to introduce you to a new one. This week, I would like you to meet Kate Vesper, of Taiwan, who just turned 25 with only a minimal quarter-life freakout. Without further ado, 13 questions with Kate.
What do you do?
I teach English to kids in Taipei.
I hadn’t visited Asia before making the move, but was in contact with a few people who had taught in China and South Korea. They had really positive experiences to share, so I thought I’d give it a try. Teaching abroad started out as a ‘I’ll just do it for one year’ thing, but the temporary adventure has turned into a really fulfilling and sustainable life.
To those who are slightly wary of children: how surprisingly un-scary working with kids is. There’s a lot more to it than sticky jam hands threatening your every article of clothing or a nonstop headache-inducing cacophony of ‘myyyy toy!’.
One thing kids don’t get enough credit for is their intelligence. They are crazy smart. Their brains are seriously absorbent little sponges for knowledge. There’s a lot of societal pressure to be studious here. Taiwanese children start school at a very early age – they can be as young as 2 when they begin a full-day schedule! In addition to learning English, ages 3+ often also take Chinese, music, dance, art, and supplemental French and Japanese classes. The kids are dropped off around 8 in the morning and often don’t go home until 7 p.m. All this long before most American children have even been introduced to the concept of spending time away from their parents.