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Thread: From Russia with love
11-20-08, 05:08 AM #1
From Russia with love
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —Some may argue that there is a subtle but genuine difference between a traveler and a tourist. The tourist journeys for entertainment, while the traveler seeks fulfillment.The tourist is passive in his or her learning of new places and cultures; they hire tour guides to help them “sight-see” and expect interesting things to automatically happen to them. The traveler, on the other hand, is active in their search of unfamiliar civilizations, adventures and life-changing experiences. If these differences are true, then Ksenia Beasley, French language instructor with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command Foreign Language Program, can best be described as a traveler.
So far, Beasley, originally from Russia, has been an exchange student in Finland, an intern in Switzerland, a language student in France, and a traveler to Italy, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Slovenia and now the United States.
“I love traveling,” said the 27-year old Beasley. “I especially appreciate international travel and learning about different cultures.”
Beasley was born June, 1981in the city of Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, which is the capital of the Mari El Republic. She was given the name “Ksenia” which, appropriately, is the Greek word for wanderer or foreigner.
She moved to the United States at the age of 24 when her mother married a U.S. Army National Guard service member and moved the family to Jacksonville, N.C.
“I was very excited about coming to the U.S.,” said Beasley. “I saw this as another opportunity to learn about a different culture. I had many friends back home who had traveled to the U.S. and they told me stories, but I wanted to see it with my own eyes.”
Beasley recalls her experiences upon exiting the plane and breathing the U.S. air for the first time.
“When I got over here, the first thing I noticed about this country was how warm it was,” said Beasley. “In fact, the first thing I said when I got here was that it feels like a jungle because it was so humid and I was used to the cold temperatures of Russia. However, I’ve come to really love the weather over here. I love the ocean and the beaches.”
The weather wasn’t the only thing that Beasley had to adjust to. American cuisine was also another challenge that she had to overcome.
“The thing that was the most difficult for me to adapt to was the food here in the U.S.,” said Beasley. “We had a Thanksgiving dinner shortly after I got here and I didn’t want to try many of the foods at the dinner because they looked strange to me, but I didn’t want to offend anyone so I ate them anyway but didn’t like them. American food is very different from Russian food because it’s prepared differently. Since I’ve been here though, I have grown accustomed to and learned to like many American foods.”
Foreign languages have always been a major part of Beasley’s life. Unlike tourists who, while sitting on the plane, try to briefly study a phrase-book containing the native language of the country they are visiting, Beasley has been a diligent student of language since she was three years old. She started learning French when she was in kindergarten and furthered her studies at Mari State University in Russia where she completed her Masters in linguistics.
Her study of the English language began when she was in college. Alongside her classroom instruction, she demonstrated her ambition to master English by completing a few internships in various countries, as well as volunteering as an exchange student in Finland where she lived in an English-speaking community.
It is said that luck is created when preparation meets opportunity, and Beasley was prepared to seize the opportunity when the call went out for a language instructor at MARSOC.
“I saw an advertisement in the newspaper about the language position,” she said. “I applied and was accepted. My job is really rewarding because I love helping the Marines reach their language goals.”
Beasley’s extensive experience as a language student assists her in her daily pursuit to become an exceptional language teacher.
“I work very hard to push my students to move further in their studies,” said Beasley. “For example, whenever they ask me a question, I respond to them with a question. I question them until they reach a conclusion. I help them find the answer by asking them a series of questions. They remember things better if they think and rely on themselves as opposed to me just telling them the answer.”
As a result of the commitment of instructors like Beasley, the MARSOC language program is helping to increase mission readiness by sharpening the international communication abilities of its operators.
“The Marines in our classes come from all over the United States and from different backgrounds, but they have several things in common,” said Beasley. “They have really busy lives but are still interested in learning different languages to help enrich their careers.”
Beasley’s passion for learning new languages has not abandoned her since the end of her scholastic days. She now plays the role of both teacher and student as she continues to learn new languages from her multilingual co-workers.
“Working here is great because our faculty is a very diverse, intelligent and committed group of people,” said Beasley. “They come from different parts of the world and speak different languages. We teach each other, as well as the military students. Right now, I’m learning Arabic and Spanish.”
When she’s not instructing Marines in French or learning a new language herself, Beasley enjoys going to the beach with her husband, boating, traveling throughout the United States, and watching movie dramas such as The Godfather, which she said is her favorite movie.
“I enjoy the beach because I’m learning to surf,” said Beasley. “My surfing skills are very primitive,” she says jokingly. “My husband and I also travel around the U.S. a lot, but we rarely take a plane. We choose to drive because you can learn a lot when you pass through different cities and small towns.”
St. Augustineonce said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” This is obviously not the case for Beasley. Even St. Augustine himself would agree that Beasley is very well read.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
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