Nick 1: Not quite ready…

Here we go! Heading out tomorrow morning from Cincinnati to Chicago and then Chicago onward. I won’t be flying with the rest of the group – sadly – but I’ll be meeting them in Beijing on friday. As mentioned, I’m still not quite ready yet. I returned home from working for a summer in Glacier National Park in western Montana just late saturday night – so I’m still organizing things. As you can see in the photo below.

I’ve still got most of my clothes to pack. But I feel that after 4 years of going back and forth to Skidmore and travelling in India and Europe – I’ve got a pretty good feel for it.

Being part Chinese, I’m pretty excited to be embarking on such a personal adventure. In a way, I was raised to be American – not knowing much Mandarin or about many of the cultural intricacies. My mother emigrated here in the 80s bringing her mother and my brother – they are all very very excited for me! My biggest goal will be to improve my Mandarin so that I can communicate with my grandmother when I return. I’ll keep you updated on how that goes!

Below is a photo of the reading material I’ll be bringing:

A textbook for Mandarin, my Kindle, Lonely Planet’s travelers guide to China and… A book called Remembering China that my great aunt wrote. Born in America, she married my mother’s uncle and spent time in China – these are her memoirs.


Until next time! Safe travels everyone!


Max 1: Two Days to Liftoff!

Ni Hao!

This marks the start of Skidmore College’s largest group of alumni ever to go teach in China. Skidmore has been sending students to teach in Qufu, Shandong Province since the year this group of students was born (1989). This year 20 new students will join two returnees, split half and half between Qufu and Zhuhai, Guangdong province (the left and right pictures above respectively).

I, save for some final preparations, am ready to leave for my year teaching at Xingtan College in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius. I’ve spent the summer teaching English at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington to students ranging in age from 18-65 from countries ranging from Peru and Mexico to Vietnam and Syria.

I also spent a few weeks with 29 Chinese middle schoolers as an teacher/camp counselor, exploring the comparatively rural setting of Vermont.

I’ve also been teaching myself Mandarin.

After landing in Beijing on Friday afternoon, the Qufu teaching team (9 other recent Skidmore College grads) will have a few days to adjust before our first classes begin on Thursday September 1st. Two days later, the teachers who will be stationed in Zhuhai will fly to Hong Kong to start their year at Sun Yat-Sen University.

We will have a rotating cast of bloggers, each approaching the upcoming academic year from disciplines as varied as economics, environmental studies, anthropology, French literature, religious studies and more. As they begin to post, readers can visit the “teacher bio” pages to learn more about the backgrounds of the authors.

Bookmark or RSS the blog to be updated when new posts arrive!

Until next time Zai Jian!