Sports weekend at SWU

Southwest University like most universities in China had a sports competition this weekend. The various colleges freshman competed against each other, my students represented the college of international studies. We are one of the largest colleges in the university but maybe not the most athletic. Classes were canceled on Friday for the opening ceremony and day 1 on the competition. Fun was had by all…well most.

My students practiced two hours every day after class for a month to prepare for the opening ceremony

Aerobics team

Latin dance team

Now some photos from the competitions. These are my freshman students either English majors or English teaching majors.

I was talking to Allen about his races and Rata decided to join us. My college has so few boys, I think 30 freshen boys they all had to compete

3/4 of the women’s relay team from English teachers class 1, my oral English students.

Bella from class 8 doing some kind of fire extinguisher race

The day 2 competitors from the college of international studies

Drum used to lead the chats to cheer on the athletes

The student union members from my college they were in charge of the games

Now some from the closing ceremony

Universities in China view sports differently than America. While physical education classes are required many of my students do not like sports. Most are women who don’t like going outside let alone competing in sports. I’m proud of all those who competed and tried their bests.

Spring is here 

My second semester at Southwest University is in full swing. This semester I am teaching oral English, English pronunciation, and western culture. I also paricioate in what is called “English Corner” on campus where students of all majors can practice English and ask me random questions. The Peace Corps wants us to do secondary projects apart from teaching, so I have created an American music and movie club that meets twice a month. One meeting we listen to and discuss a genre of music, the other meeting we watch and discuss a movie. When I have time later in the semester I will also be volunteer teaching English at what is the Chinese equivalent of a middle school, which should be a lot of fun.

The weather has been steadily approving and spring has arrived. My students tell me it doesn’t last long and the blistering heat that is a Chongqing summer is soon to follow. However, until then enjoy some photos I took around campus and of dinner with some students.

I also go to dinner with students regularly to give them a chance to practice English in a more relaxed atmosphere, my sitemate CC joins sometimes as well.

The food was very tasty. Most of it was spicy as the people of Chingqing love spicy food. 

We had a few days off class for the Tomb Sweeping festival. Where Chinese people go visit and care for the resting places of their ancestors. I went and explored downtown Chingqing, about and hour away by subway. Chongqing really is beautiful at night.

Thanks for reading.

Spring festival break a Southeast Asia vacation 

Following the fall semester and in service training two other volunteers and I went on a Southeast Asia vacation to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Below are some pictures in the order of the trip. Some highlights include the grand palace in Bangkok, Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap Cambodia, the killing fields near Phnom  Phen, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Above are some photos of Bangkok 


Above are some photos from the Angkor world heritage site near Siem Reap Cambodia. It was amazing to see the mix of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Don’t think my photos do it justice.

Boat ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Phen  Cambodia. Also went to the killing fields and genocide museum of the killing under Pol Pot a very moving experience.

Photos of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City and the beach town Vung Tau. The people of Vietnam were amazing I can’t wait to return.

My next post will either be more photos my trip or picture around my site and the city of Chongqing. Thanks for reading.

Finishing my first semester at site, 6 months in China 

Well my first semester teaching at Southwest University in China is winding down. I have started my finals with my junior grade classes and my Freshman oral English begin their finals next week. Time has flown by hard to believe I’ve already been in China 6 months.  For the most part it was been a challenging, rewarding, and overall prey great experience. 

This is also my first Christmas and holiday season outside the United States. However, my friends and student have made a nice time here in China. 

Many of my students gave me Christmas cards and candies which was very nice. In many of my classes we watched the movie Elf which all the students said they enjoyed.

The International College of Southwest University also held their student led end of the semester gala last night which was fun and enjoyable. The students of each language performed plays, skits, songs, and dance routines. The languages studied at my school and on display last night include English, Russian, Spanish, German, Korean, and Japanese. The English students performed some Shakespeare, parts of the musical Singing in the Rain, the play Waterloo Bridge, and some English song dance medleys 
Some of the foreign teachers also performed. The American teachers me included sang Rudolph to help everyone get in the Christmas spirit.

So far my site and the people I have met especially my students have helped make the my first sit months in China great. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next semester and year will bring.

Happy holidays and New Year.

Gone fishin’

One of my countrparts favorite activities is fishing and he has been kind enough to take me along. Most Chinese fishermen don’t use reels, their fishing is a cross between jigging and fly fishing. Throw the line out and flick the pole up in the air to cast the line out as far as possible. Then wait for what is often carp to take the bait, jerk the pole to set the hook and lift the pole high in the air to reel them in. That’s fishing Chongqing style anyways. After fishing we have the cook make a meal of our fish and local fresh vegetables and we play majiang while we wait. I have become surprisingly good at majiang a Chinese game similar to rummy. 

The fish was great but you have to watch out for all the little bones.

Along with fishing I went to a local orchard and farm, where we picked oranges and had another justo pick from the ground fresh meal

Some showing off the radishes they picked. They were quite delicious.

The fishing and farming was done about a 15 minute car ride from my apartment in Beibei Chongqing, at the foot of the Jinyuan mountain. Fun was had by all.

First few months at site

Well so much for blogging all the time, but I have been busy so I guess that makes it ok. Once the freshman completed their manditory month of military training at the start of the semester, I teach 7 classes a week that each have to periods so 14 40 minute periods. I have 4 fraeshman classes and three juniors teaching mainly oral English but also writting. The students have been great so far and have been really eager to learn though many are very shy. The hardest part has been improving their confidence and let them be willing to make mistakes. They always want to find the right answer though I am trying to get them to think more critically. Overall they have been great and teaching is often the best part of my day. 

The freshman ladies of one of my oral English classes.
Outside of teaching I have been busy in other ways I judged a English singing competition, attended the schools minority festival, and am on the English departments basketball team. 

Above a pictures of round one of the dining competition, I judged three rounds. Below are photos of Southwest University’s minority festival. I enjoyed the performances and am proud of my students for representing their people

The food has also been great. That my be because I enjoy spicy food and the people of Chongqing and Sichuan put spicy food in almost everything. The most popular is hot pot, a meal where food is cooked together in a boiling bowl of spicy oil. Sometimes it is too oily but on a cold day it hits the spot. 

Some of the Chongqing volunteers also meet with some previous China Peace Corps volunteers including the author Peter Hessler, he wrote a few interesting books on China including River Town, and Adam who now works for the State department. They were kind enough to share insight and we had some good discussions over dinner.

I will try to remember to get photos of the food for future posts.
Thanks for reading

My Site Southwest University in Chongqing China

It’s been a little while since my last post. I got my site placement, final language exam, said goodbye to my Chengdu host family, swore in as a volunteer, moved to Chongqing, and started to get settled. I begin teaching on Monday. I teach mainly oral English to freshman and audio-visual English to juniors this semester. Bellow are some photos from the past few weeks. I am looking forward to the next two years at SWU in Chongqing.

All the volunteers who trained at Chengdu University with our TEFL trainer and are amazing language trainers.

All the volunteers serving in the Chongqing area. Plus our program manager mama Peng and assistant manager. I think 18 volunteers total.

All the China 22s volunteers with our Peace Corps country director, the US ambassador to China Max Baucus, and the Chengdu consulate consolr general Raymond Green. I think 83 volunteers total.

Me, my CDU training site manager the wonderful Zhang Yupei or Chloe, and my friend Skip now a volunteer in the province of Guazhou.

Me and US ambassador to China Max Baucus.

My language class at CDU. Garret, Jacob, me, Stephen, and Oscar

My sitemate CC and I’s luggage on its way to site via express service. It could not fit on the fast train from Chengdu to Chongqing.

Some photos of Southwest University where I teach

Photos of me and my homestay host dad in Chengdu, Liu Xiao Ping. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and friendship. Also community basketball game with out host families at CDU. Saying goodbye to CDU group photo.