Full Immersion

Dewi Beer’s love of teaching and language converge in a Taiwanese fellowship.

June 15, 2023

Tessa Sternal ’25

Dewi Beer '22.
Dewi Beer graduated from Oberlin with majors in economics and East Asian studies—and a fully formed passion for teaching.
Photo credit: courtesy of Dewi Beer

At Oberlin, Dewi Beer developed twin passions for teaching and studying Mandarin. Now the spring graduate, who completed majors in economics and East Asian studies and an integrative concentration in education studies, will examine effective education systems and dive deeper into her language studies as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant—or ETA—in Yulin, Taiwan.

“I have always had an interest in education, and the opportunity to teach in a different education system and bring back what I learn to a possible career was very attractive to me,” says Beer, who is from San Francisco. “I took the most advanced Mandarin classes offered at Oberlin, and I’m excited to put what I learned into practice and further develop my language skills through full immersion while working as an ETA.”

Beer is grateful to her professors and other mentors for encouraging her to take challenging courses—among them Chinese calligraphy.

“Oberlin exposed me to a higher level of language learning and gave me a level of confidence that will make a difference in my experience in Taiwan,” she says.

Beer also credits Oberlin for fostering a solid foundation in teaching that spanned multiple settings. She taught a music class in Oberlin’s Langston Middle School under the guidance of Professor of Music Education Jody Kerchner, part of a conservatory course in Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (PACE). She also designed lesson plans for multiple student-taught Experimental College (ExCo) courses and after-school programming for the middle school. From 2019 to 2022, she served as a mentor in the Girls in Motion ExCo, which is dedicated to empowering young people through dance.

Beer looks forward to studying language at local universities, working with fellow Fulbright ETAs and teachers and students—and trying “as much Taiwanese food as possible.”

Oberlin also opened the doors to international travel. Beer has experience learning and researching abroad through a pair of very different Winter Term projects in China: one of them a geosciences excursion that traveled to Sichuan Province and the other a volunteer position as a teacher’s assistant at an orphanage for children with developmental disabilities in Tianjin.

In Taiwan, Beer looks forward to studying language at local universities, working with fellow Fulbright ETAs and teachers and students at her placement school—and trying “as much Taiwanese food as possible, especially the seafood.” She also plans to learn to ride a scooter.

Though she’s unsure of her next steps after her year in Yulin, she’s considering options that revolve around education policy and law.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries by sponsoring students and scholars to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas. The U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program, Fulbright supports exchanges between the U.S. and more than 150 countries around the world. In February, Oberlin was named a top producer of Fulbright students for the 14th consecutive year. It ranks third among U.S. colleges and universities on the all-time list, with more than 260 Fulbright recipients.

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