Postcard from Kaohsiung (Taiwan): RU Classics alum and Fulbrighter Kevin Apodaca’11

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Here at the Rutgers Classics Blog we just received a very welcome note—from Taiwan, of all places—written by our former major Kevin Apodaca’11, who has received for 2013/4 an English Teaching Assistantship under the Fulbright US Student Program. This type of grant places a Fulbrighter in a classroom abroad to assist teachers of English as a foreign language, and also to serve as cultural ambassadors for US culture.

During his time at Rutgers Classics, Kevin Apodaca played a crucial role in the Department’s Rutgers Day 2010 activities; wrote a memorable thesis under the direction of Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower on the depiction of Persians in Greek tragedy (for which he received high honors); and impressively earned a second major in Biological Sciences. But here is Kevin in his own words on his Fulbright experience…

“I have recently begun my Fulbright year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan as an English teacher. Kaohsiung the 2nd largest city in the south of Taiwan. I’ve been here for about two months and I’m finally settling in. It’s a very vibrant and colorful city. There are tons of night markets, where one can buy all kinds of goodies (sweets, clothes, cultural paraphernalia, anything).”

“The big tourist attraction here is the giant rubber duck sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. It is currently floating on the Love River; here it is at Love Pier…”

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“One of my favorite things to do here is hiking on Shoushan Mountain. It is translated as “Monkey Mountain” and rightly so. There are monkeys everywhere. They are completely unafraid of human and are known to take hikers’ bags and belongings. The path to the summit is quite hard. It is quite steep and the trails aren’t well kept, but there are several pavillions where hikers can rest.”

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Kevin Apodaca’11 at a Monkey Mountain pavilion

“It looks like I’m going to have a pretty busy year. I will be teaching English to 5th and 6th graders at two different elementary schools here. I recently acquired my scooter license, so that is how I will be commuting. I will also start volunteering at an orphanage in a week or so. In addition, I will be writing segments for a radio show that discusses American culture for the American Institute in Taiwan (which is essentially the American Embassy). I’m very excited!”

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“This is me, my fellow Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, some local teachers, and students. (I might be hard to find, I’m in the second row in the red shirt and glasses and I’m crouching down behind the girl in the red angry birds t-shirt).”

Thanks so much Kevin—and very interested to know how the rest of the year turns out!

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