Monday, August 6, 2012

China Trip, Part 1

The Hilton Family has recently been reunited after I (John) spent 5 weeks teaching two summer courses at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. I left at the end of June, Lani joined me at the end of July, and we traveled back together to Seattle (where Lani had bravely driven 900 miles by herself, and my mother bravely watched all of our children). We've been at a Hilton reunion here in Seattle, and start an Olsen family reunion later this week.

I plan to make several posts about the trip to China, which was incredible, but thought at this point I'd just answer a few questions about the trip:

What did you teach? I taught a Psychology course (my PhD was in Instructional Psychology and Technology) and a Western Literature course. Both were so fun!

Where is Chengdu? Chengdu is the capital city of the Sichuan province, in western China. It is ironic that most Americans have never heard of this city, which has a population of 13 million (by comparison, New York City has 8 million). I taught at Sichuan University, which is one of the highest ranked universities in China.

Why did you go? For me, the main driver was a chance to immerse myself in Mandarin Chinese. I've been dabbling in it for a few years and this provided the opportunity to go deep. I studied with tutors for 3.5 hours a day and had lots of natural opportunities to practice. Lani and I have also considered taking our family to China for a month since Annemarie and Maria speak Chinese and it seemed like a good idea to do a test run.

What was your favorite part about China? Definitely the students! I'm including a picture of my literature class (any psychology students reading this, don't worry, I love you too! It's just that Lani took the pictures of the Psychology class and they haven't been transferred to this computer yet). I have so many wonderful memories of having great discussions with incredibly smart people about topics relating to psychology and great works of literature.

More to come...