BBC photo-essay captures the changes in my area of China

BBC photo-essay captures the changes in my area of China
JISHOU, HUNAN — The BBC Magazine today has an excellent photo-essay describing how the urbanization of China has affected one family profoundly. Although the farming village in question is not in Hunan, it’s not very far from where I live, about 350 km as the crow flies. (See map, above. I’ve circled major cities and the Three Gorges Dam to help in reading this Bing.com map.) Much of what BBC reporter Carrie Gracie says has happened to the family of Xiao Zhang has happened to countless families all across China. I teach some of their children here at Jishou University, students who in many cases are the first in their village to attend university, whose grandparents are barely literate, and whose parents left the village to work in the big cities. To cope with the hundreds of millions of rural people flooding into the big cities to find work, China’s has undertaken huge modernization projects — wiping out entire rural villages and building small cities on top of them. From one perspective, it’s a terrible loss of an age-old way of life. The villagers really did not have much choice in the matter, as previous BBC reports detailed. But from ...

The class trip to Chongqing

The class trip to Chongqing
CHONGQING– It’s a little late in coming, but here’s a rundown on the trip in late April with the junior class. Each year, students are expected to go on a “practical experience” trip, which is essentially the equivalent of an American spring break trip, but with a couple of teachers along. In the past, students could choose from several destinations, such as Hainan, Guilin/Yangshuo, Beihai, Chongqing, Beijing, and even Fenghuang for those pressed for cash. This year, however, all 150 or so juniors for the College of International Communications went together on a three-day trip to Chongqing. The journey included visits to two factories, one in Jishou and the other in Chongqing. I suppose the national education bureau wants these “practical experiences” to have some kind of relationship to the students’ major and just not be a frivolous trip. As before, though, the students have to write reports on their experiences, so no matter what, the trips were still part of the curriculum. Good thing none of us Americans are required to report on our spring break junkets. Hoo boy! We left on Monday morning (April 2) on three chartered buses. Our first stop was a manganese processing facility about ...

Summer holiday update 1

CHANGSHA, HUNAN — Here’s my summer so far: 3 T’s. Teaching, travel, Thailand. Except Thailand starts tomorrow. (4 T’s, then) The spring term wrapped up for me around July 4th. Right away, I started teaching some middle school students English four hours a day for 20 days straight. I also finished up working with some university faculty preparing study and research abroad. Together, these two jobs netted me 10,000 RMB. With one group of students, we spent one hour with oral English and the other with their textbook, New Concept English 2. Despite its title, NCE was first written in the 1970s. It’s more suitable for adult learners than teenagers, but that’s what they use at their training school. I tried to make it not too boring. The other group has better English, so we read an American juvenile novel, The Midwife’s Apprentice. I had found a classroom set in a Louisville St. Vincent de Paul store in April, and brought back eight copies. It was slow going, because the vocabulary is pretty advanced even for American young readers, but the story is interesting and it held their interest. Explaining the culture and history behind the story was harder. We ...

Greetings from Chongqing! 2

CHONGQING — We have an eight-day holiday now, so I decided to get one last trip in before I buckle down to teach my 280 students for the next four months. So here I am in busy Chongqing. I have a friend here, and originally I was going to come for a visit in July for the solar eclipse. But, I was invited at the last minute to visit someone else in Liuyang (in Hunan) the weekend following the eclipse, making visiting Chongqing a little impractical. So I postponed the trip indefinitely. My options this holiday week were to stay in Jishou and hang out with the many folks who did not go home, or splurge and take this trip. I did both, as it turns out. Since Moon (my friend here) had to work overtime Oct. 1-3, I stayed in Jishou and observed China’s 60th National Day and the traditional Mid-Autumn Moon Day with my Jishou friends. Nearly everyone on campus was glued to the new flat-screen TVs installed in the campus dining hall to watch the National Day festivities in Beijing Oct. 1. I watched it on and off in my apartment. The ceremonies included displays of China’s ...
WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com