Claremont, Calif. (July 6, 2017)—Recent Pitzer College graduate Sachi Watase ’17 will teach English at a university in the Mekong Delta this fall with Teachers for Vietnam (TfV), a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between Vietnamese and Americans through cultural exchange and university-level language learning.
Each year, Teachers for Vietnam sends four to six teachers certified in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) to universities in southwestern Vietnam to improve the English proficiency of Vietnamese university students. In addition to leading classes in oral communication, pronunciation, American culture and literature, TfV teachers help foster intercultural understanding between the two countries.
A studio art major and mathematics minor, Watase explored cultural exchange and identity throughout her college career, and throughout her life. The daughter of a Swiss mother and Japanese father, Watase attended an international school—founded by her grandparents—in Switzerland before enrolling at Pitzer in fall 2013. She embarked on a study tour to Costa Rica during her first year as part of the inaugural year of Pitzer’s Global Local Mentorship Program, which helps students forge connections between global and local studies and experiences, and she spent a semester abroad on the Pitzer in Nepal program.
Watase helped establish Pitzer’s Mixed Identity Exchange (MIX), an affinity group for students who identify as multiracial, multiethnic or multicultural. This spring, Watase won the Pitzer College Student Senate’s 2017 Campus Impact Award, which is given to a senior “who has exhibited outstanding leadership and vision to make a difference in the lives of the students of Pitzer College.” In addition to MIX, Watase helped found Pitzer Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and worked for the Center for Asian Pacific American Students. Her collegiate legacy also lives on in the Claremont Colleges Roller Derby team, which she co-founded and coached.
After her time in Vietnam, Watase plans to pursue a graduate degree in education.