Since graduating from Southeast Missouri State University in 1991, Linda Kennedy has taught in America, Egypt and Taiwan, where she currently lives.
Linda graduated Quincy University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and received her master’s degree in English from Southeast in 1991. She attended Southeast because she wanted to complete her master’s degree.
“My favorite memory of Southeast is working on my master’s and the classes I took while doing this. I had great professors!” she says. “My education both at Quincy University and Southeast has been invaluable in preparing me for my career in teaching and its aftermath.”
Linda has been teaching for 34 years. She is employed by The International Bilingual School of Hsinchu (Taiwan) as an international teacher, teaching AP English to bilingual high school students.
“To me, teaching is the greatest profession, and I have learned as much as I have been able to teach,” she says. “I have never been bored.”
Linda taught at Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau, Mo., for 11 years and at Notre Dame High School in St. Louis for 12 years. She then moved to Egypt and taught for two years at the American International School in Cairo. She has taught for the past two years in Taiwan.
“Presently I teach some very bright Asian students who are wonderful young people,” she says. “I am proud to be their teacher.”
Throughout the past four years while teaching in Egypt and Taiwan, Linda has grown accustomed to life overseas. She says the two cultures are very different than American culture but are also very different from each other. She has loved becoming friends with the natives of these countries.
“My experiences in Egypt and Taiwan go far beyond the usual ‘tourist’ experience because I have lived and worked alongside the citizens of each of these countries,” Linda says. “The past four years have been filled with exciting occurrences encompassing everything from the food to the beautiful scenery of each country. However, the thing that has been more special than anything else has been becoming friends with the people of these countries. Egyptians are warm, effusive and outgoing, while the Taiwanese are quiet, respectful, kind and filled with a graciousness I have never come across anywhere else in the world.”
Linda describes Cairo, Egypt, as “a magical city, filled with colorful sights and sounds and smells like no other place on Earth.” She enjoyed her stay there and took in as much of the culture as possible, even taking a boat ride on the Nile River.
“A ride on the Nile is an unbelievable feeling,” she says. “To think you are floating down the Nile, just like Cleopatra once did!”
Hsinchu, Taiwan, is much different than Cairo. It is a small city south of Taipei, which is a mega-metropolis. Hsinchu is more industrialized and technological. One of the first things Linda noticed when she moved to Hsinchu was the garbage trucks, which play a tune much like ice cream trucks in America.
“That is only one example of the charming little happenings one encounters in Taiwan. Where Egypt is wild and untidy, Taiwan is manicured and beautiful in its landscaping; even the farms are planted in little rows,” Linda says.
Although Linda loves the variety of cultures she has encountered in her travels, she says her favorite thing about each experience is her students.
“They are so bright and eager to learn,” Linda says. “All in all, I wouldn’t trade my experience teaching internationally for anything.”
In addition to teaching almost 5,000 children during her career, Linda is the mother of five sons, Colin, Eric, Tyler, Kerry and the late Kevin.
Linda says, “Life continues to be an adventure for me. I have had some extreme tragedies in my life—the greatest being the loss of my son—but also some great joys, and with perseverance and the help of God, I am still trying to live life to the fullest mostly by striving to be a positive contributor to the world.”
Linda has some sound advice for current Southeast students: “Trust in God, enjoy and love your families, find a career you love, travel the world and practice random acts of kindness. It will all return to you tenfold.”