Leslie, Chinese Academy Parent

For parent Leslie, learning Chinese is positioning her son to be a global citizen at the same time that it's enabling him to pursue his passion for Chinese language and culture.

“My name is Leslie Maxie. I'm from Morristown, New Jersey, originally California. And we came to MMLA with a recommendation from Frank. My son Nicholas is 13. And he studied at Swarthmore College, and he studied Chinese. He's always had a love of Asian culture. He loves Japanese anime. He cooks Chinese cuisine. He's kind of a Renaissance kid.

“And with this love that he has of Asian culture, I said anything that I can do to encourage him—but not push him, because if you push, they automatically resist—so for him to pursue it and then me to do everything I can to support it really seemed to be a combination that worked well. Character writing was hard for him because it takes some level of consistency. And that was what he got from the Academy, because he was working around the clock. He got a new system to work with. He understood the need for the characters and that just made such a difference for him.

“When we went to pick him up—actually, Andrea was leaving for China that day. And he came down to the car, and they kind of clicked a little bit. And then he went up to get the rest of his stuff. And she said just in that small exchange he understood everything. His tone was great. I mean, everything. She was like, that's incredible.

“From my perspective, I want to position him to really be a global citizen. For him to be able to connect on a variety of levels—if it's cooking, if it's literature, if it's music, if it's culture—to be able to connect in those ways so people don't seem so foreign. When we're familiar with something we tend to be a little more patient, a little more compassionate, a little more giving. And I think anytime that those core values can be extended, no matter what the catalyst, it's a winning combination.”