Ian Connelly

China Instructor

B.A. – Chinese Literature, Reed College

Ian grew up reading books, jumping off piers, and climbing on things in southern Maine. After finishing high school, he embarked on his first independent travel, doing a NOLS course in New Zealand and then spending the better part of the year hitchhiking and tramping around the backcountry. After returning home, he moved cross-continent to Portland, Oregon to attend Reed College, where his interest in anthropology, linguistics, and religious studies led him to the Chinese Literature department. Midway through his degree, Ian traveled to Taipei to attend a year-long Mandarin immersion program and later apprenticed with a Taiwanese ceramicist. While in Taiwan, Ian began studying Tai Chi Chuan, an interest that has abided with him since, and which won him an opportunity grant in his senior year to study with a Tai Chi master in Beijing for a month. For his Senior thesis, Ian studied narrative, politics of resistance, and ethics of viewing in independent Chinese documentary films.

In summers and throughout college, Ian worked as a sea kayak guide in the San Juan Islands and doing conservation work and assistant-leading a trail crew on the Pacific Crest Trail. After graduating college, Ian skipped town again to travel, learn Spanish, and teach English in Colombia. He currently works in an elementary school in Portland, teaching after-school classes to kiddos, facilitating adult English classes, and doing community engagement work. Ian believes in education that is experiential, place-based, and engaged in critical thinking.

Ian likes eating yogurt, turning off unattended lights, the smell of mulch, playing hackysack, and vigorously Q-tipping his ears – even though he knows he shouldn’t.