For someone who loves to learn different languages, there really is no better way to do so than to go to a place where that language is spoken and immerse yourself in it. That is exactly what Belinda Littlefield ’12 is doing. Littlefield is currently an English teacher at a school in South Korea, where she is helping young students learn English while at the same time learning her third language.
“I think HWS prepared me by providing me with such a concentrated yet widely disciplined outlook,” says Littlefield. “I went to HWS to study Spanish, and came out knowing Russian, debunking many myths traditionally held about Russia and its culture, and with a desire to go out into the world and confront those stereotypes in other cultures. HWS taught me to question what I was told by analyzing the source of the information and doing my own research into the matter.”
During her four years at the Colleges, Littlefield was what she describes as, “all over the place.” She did everything from completing more than 500 hours of community service to being the editor-in-chief of the Herald for a year and a half. Littlefield also spent three years as a Russian tutor, which helped her with her Russian language and cultural and comparative literature majors.
The school where Littlefield is teaching is a private school run by a husband a wife who teach English to children ages 5 to 11.
“It is difficult to keep their attention, and I don’t speak any Korean and they don’t know a lot of English. I find it rewarding when I can get just one of them to understand the connection between a capital and lowercase letter,” explains Littlefield. “My level fives, which are the highest level we currently teach as we are a new school, are much more advanced, but they are more hesitant to speak so I am working on providing them with more opportunities to speak and encouraging them to try more difficult language constructions.”
After graduating from William Smith, Littlefield spent a year working as a writer in the Colleges’ Office of Communications.
“After spending a year writing about the amazing things our alums did, I realized that I wanted to do more than just write about them; I wanted to be one of them,” she says.