Cohort 5 in China
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
From the Health and Nutrition Team
We have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many doctors and nurses in some of the local hospitals and clinics. We have also spent time out on the street talking with the everyday person as well as with students on university campuses. We have been learning more and more about Chinese Traditional Medicine and that has been a very interesting experience. Our translator invited us to go to a wedding with her and we were privileged to be able to witness a very traditional Manchurian wedding. It was an amazing experience.
From the Business, Economics, and Entrepreneurship Team
Since we’ve been in Yantai, we’ve had the opportunity to meet many types of people and ask about their experiences in depth. One of the first people we met was an old man who was fishing by the ocean. We found the man sitting alone on a stool, wearing a wide brimmed hat and using an old-fashioned bamboo pole to fish. His life spanned the last 71 years from before the Communist Revolution until now. He told us how he toured the country singing Beijing Opera for most of his life and how he and his wife had opened their own store after his retirement from the Opera.
We also met three women who sold cherries by the roadside. They shared how life was getting better and better for farmers in the countryside and the hardships they face not having an official place to sell their produce. Now, whenever we pass the corner where they sell their cherries they wave and call us over to talk more.
We met a young man in his 30’s who is working to stay ahead of the competition around his clothing store. Although he has little education, he is doing well. He fears most the competition from the bigger stores like the Wal-Mart that opened up down the street last week.
Finally, we have also met the owners, managers, and CEO’s of some larger companies. We were introduced to a woman who was educated in the US and who has started 2 companies here in Yantai. Her husband is the CEO of a pharmaceutical company that is working on the cure for cancer. Almost everything in their home has been imported from America, where she travels at least once a year. Because of her family’s wealth she is burdened for those who don’t have as much. She has started a scholarship program for local high school students and takes American teachers to the countryside every weekend to teach English.
These are just a few representatives of the many people we have met. It’s been fun so far and we still have a week left here in Yantai and then on to Beijing. Thanks for thinking of us.
From the Intergenerational Team
Higher Education is on the minds of many of the families we talk to here in China. Parents who spend long days repairing bicylcles or worn out shoes on the streets are gathering every cent to send their children to University. That is where we are seeing a large generation gap occurring. The young students go to University without any parental advisory, because their parents are uneducated and haven't a clue what university life entails. Four years later, the students graduate without passing the exit examination and have nothing to show for their time at the University. The parents are devastated because of their hopes of leaving their poor lifestyle.
We spend our mornings talking to friends we have made here in eastern China. They share their stories of how their childhood is quite different from their children's at present. Most of the families always mention how much food there is now for the children. We have had a few opportunities to visit their homes, seeing the vast difference between the educated and uneducated. In our tour of the growing city we observe that the "houses are being built but nobody's home!"
From the Education Team
We have had many great opportunities to speak with students, professors, and principals at both the university and high school level. We have met with grace and enthusiasm as we weave our way through the many questions we have about the past and current educational situations. One informant invited us to eat dinner with his family in his home. It was great spend time with them, talking about their life, their history, and their hopes for the future. It added feeling and depth to the information we had been gathering.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
A little fun
Recently, we had an opportunity to visit a very old church in a city not far from where we are doing our field experience. There an old man welcomed us and shared the history of the church and about a very famous woman that had started this church in the 1800's. It was a great opportunity for many of us to catch a firsthand glimpse of a place that we have studied about. It was also a special moment for me. Speaking some Russian and Kazakh but no Chinese, I have struggled to connect with anyone locally since we arrived here. The pastor who met us at the gate of the church was a very sweet man well into his 80's. I found out from one of our instructors that he lived in Russia for 3 years and during that time, he had learned the language. We got to speak for a while and it was a huge blessing from God, because I had been struggling a lot and He totally gave me an opportunity to use the language i knew, and to connect with someone locally. It was wonderful and a huge blessing.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
A Glimpse into the Professional Experience
First of all, let us begin by apologizing for not having updated this blog sooner. Life in
Almost as soon as we arrived on the ground, we began working on some of the details of the Internationalization of Higher Education Conference. The conference was located in International Conference Center of Qingdao University, which doubled as the hotel that we stayed in (fortunately, the air conditioner kicked in just as soon as the conference did). For most of us, this was our first opportunity to be a part of a conference like this one and I’m not sure any of us knew what to expect.
There wasn’t really any specific job description for us in the first few preparation days, but each person found skills that came in handy. Each team of two was assigned a room during the conference and asked to assist the speakers for that room in any way necessary.
One of the highlights of the conference included a speech by Dr. Eric Motley, Director of the Office of International Visitors at the U.S. Department of State, who shared his personal story about how the encouragement of a community took him from poverty to success.
One of the things that many of us realized during the conference is that the professional who travels the world does not always have the opportunity, because of limits on time and professional obligations, to experience a culture in its truest sense. We also remembered that