Thursday, April 24, 2008

ZHUHAI Here I Come!

Wow, it's been two weeks since my last entry! A lot has happened since then... for one thing, I've accepted an offer to teach with Maryknoll another year! In September I'll be moving to Zhuhai, right across the border from Macau. Scott and I visited the school last weekend and as soon as I set foot on campus, I knew that was where I belonged.

Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai is a branch of the larger Guangzhou campus. It's located about 20 minutes north of the city center, but unlike my present school it is still amazingly convenient. Campus has several canteens, tennis courts, a gym, a swimming pool, track, and a driving range. Not to mention, it's surrounded by beautiful mountains full of fabulous hiking trails. The library has an entire floor devoted to English resources, and top students have the opportunity to participate in exchange programs to study in English-speaking countries. Every classroom has computers, and freshmen are required to bring a laptop. The difference between the Zhanjiang Finance and Trade School and Sun Yat-Sen University is comparable to that between a public high school and Harvard. The college is one of the top 10 universities in China, so the students will be excellent and very studious. Needless to say, I'm so excited about teaching these students and getting to know the school!

Kevin Clancy (the Maryknoll program coordinator) and his Chinese wife Kai Shan both live in Zhuhai. Kai Shan teaches at the school, and will act as our foreign affairs liaison with the school. This is amazing, since Kai Shan and I are already friends. She speaks fluent English- curses, even!- and spent two years in England working on her Master's degree. Through Kai Shan, it will be much easier to get to know the school's Chinese English teachers than it has been this year. I'll look forward to spending time with Kevin and Kai Shan next year.

Another huge bonus- and one of the reasons I accepted the position- is that I can enroll in the school's Chinese as a Foreign Language program and attend regular Chinese classes for free. I'm just now getting serious about studying Chinese this semester, and next year I hope to make some serious progress.

Zhuhai itself is wonderful, with an abundance of Western restaurants, import stores, and other foreigners. We even found a couple of wine bars and visited the beautiful Zhuhai bar street last weekend. The city center is constructed along the South China Sea, so most places have an excellent view. Macau is right across the border, and Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other major cities are just an hour ride away.

I originally went to visit the Zhuhai school on a whim, more of an absolute last choice back-up run. However, I was blown away by the school as well as the city; both far exceeded my expectations! I'm counting down the days until I begin my new job and am thrilled to have such an exciting opportunity to look forward to in the next year. :)

*More proof that this school is legit: they have a website in (mostly)CORRECT English! Check it out at

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