Flyers Embracing Global Experiences: Nick Chima

Nick Chima, an Intensive English Program (IEP) instructor at the Center for International Programs, has been able to create meaningful cross-cultural experiences and relationships by sharing common interests with others. Nick makes an intentional effort to guide his students through their intercultural exchanges and international education.

What has influenced or shaped your passion for international education and exchange?

When I was in college I was an Education major and we had to do service/volunteer hours. I decided to do my service hours at the library with their program helping community members learn English. I met a lot of awesome people with interesting stories. I thought that there are probably 7 billion other people on this planet with interesting stories to share too. That was the start of my passion. Maybe even before then, my parents had a few international students who stayed with us. My parents and I also participated in programs similar to the Friendship Families program, here at UD.

Can you share an intercultural experience or moment that inspired you?

I always enjoy when two students, from different countries, decide to hang out outside of class and use the English that they have learned. That is neat.

In your opinion, what are some benefits to international education and exchange?

There are different people from all over the world. Each person is raised with different cultural aspects, customs, traditions, and by interacting and sharing that knowledge, you end up meeting people and learning something interesting. In that way I really like that you can learn different values from different people. My wife and her family are from China. I learn so much through what she is able to teach me.

As a faculty member, how do you promote international education and exchange? How have you expanded intercultural experiences whether through campus, community, or around the world? 

I try to encourage people that everyone has different values and ideas. The more opportunities that you have to talk to people, the more you can learn. Take some ideas from those stories and embrace them. I try to help my students find a common interest. Sometimes that common interest doesn’t even have to be found through communication, it can be an activity like playing soccer, dancing or even eating. It can be hard for students to meet people, but I try to do what I can to get the students to share an experience during events like the Global Game Nights.

What is one aspect or memory of home that you still embrace today?

Playing baseball with my dad in the backyard. Home is a very positive memory.

Where are some places you have traveled that have expanded your perspective of yourself and the world?

I lived in China for a couple of years. It was a great experience and I realized that just because I did something a certain way, doesn't mean it is the only or right way to do it. The experiences enabled me to see the world through a different cultural lens. As I was living in China, I taught English to Chinese students and I took classes to learn Chinese too. All of my classmates were from Kyrgyzstan, which I had not heard of before I got there. We all became friends, partially because we found that common interest that we were navigating through new experiences together. I was also a part of a small break dance group in China. We would talk and if we ran out of things to say, we would just dance.

If you had to pick a life motto or quote, what would it be? Why?

My college roommate and friend gave a sermon once. He said, “I try to do a little better today, than I did yesterday”. I have my opportunity today, hopefully I do a little better tomorrow. That is the life motto that I try to live by.
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