Saturday, May 29, 2010

Touchdown!

7:14 PM
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I have safely arrived in China! I realize many of you have been kept in the dark until now; some web sites are rather tricky to access (such as this one), but Bart does have internet (which is where I am right now). So far it has been a real whirlwind, so I'll try to keep things clear and concise!

LA was great, Jon, Dave and I got to take a bus tour of Hollywood, and we got to see Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) among other actors, and a replica Dharma van at the LOST finale!

Sadly, I had to duck out halfway through the showing to catch my 1am flight. But I slept through the first half of the flight, so it only felt like a 6 hour deal. I had a 7 hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan, so I hopped on a bus to check out the city, inclucing Taipei 101! (pictures pending...I haven't figured that one out yet) Taiwan seems like an Asian version of the US, it's very clean and modern-looking.

A few hours later I arrived in Guangzhou, and Faye (an AIESECer from the GZ area) and her friend Susan met me at the airport to help get me situated. We took a bus down the smoggy GZ highway, past tons of beautiful palm trees and other tropical plants, old & new highrise apartments, to the Bart school where I'm teaching. The first 4 days here I was put up in a hotel, and now I'm staying with the owners/founders of Bart (the Huangs), for about a month, after which I will move into the apartment with the two other summer AIESEC teachers (Julien from Canada and Trevor from Missouri, they're both pretty awesome).

The city is amazing and crazy at the same time. Cars, mopeds, bicycles, and people on foot all mashed together at the intersections (red lights are only really a suggestion)..."head on a swivel," as Julien says. Along every inch of the sidewalk are little shops, restaurants, and street food vendors. The city doesn't really smell as bad as I anticipated, except for these little river-things that smell like sewage (but even those have gone through a tenfold improvement over the last few months, according to one of the other teachers here). The city is changing fast to look good for the upcoming Asia Games this fall. English is useful at "official" places (airports, schools, etc.) but otherwise has limited use; it's time to bust out the Chinese! Though I am nowhere near fluent, it's really good practice, and, with pointing, I've usually been able to get the message through.

Okay, I'll keep you guys posted on more details....my Skype name is "Dsquaredmoonunit2" if you'd like to chat (it's 13 hours later here in GZ), and my email is disseldan@gmail.com .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wed, May 19: Typo

11:39 PM
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It has been brought to my attention that there's a typo in my last post: I'm starting teaching MAY 27, not JUNE 27! That would be weird.

That is all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I leave for LA early this Saturday morning (the 22nd), to go see the city for 2 days with Dave and Jon, then Sunday night is the LOST series finale, at the Orpheum LA!:

http://globalcashcard.com/lost/

My plane then leaves LA for Guangzhou (GZ) early Monday morning, due to land the afternoon of Tuesday the 25th. The plan so far is to hang out at SYSU (Sun Yat-Sen University, the hosting Local Chapter, or LC), get my bearings, and snap out of jet lag until I start teaching Wed., June 27. My teaching contract lasts until August 27, and I plan on flying straight home after that.

Some of you have been asking, "but Dan, what group are you going with in the first place? Where are you teaching? How did you get connected to China?"

Well, those are great questions, and I apologize for not answering them sooner. I am going with a student group, AIESEC:
http://www.aiesecus.org/
Which is apparently the world's largest student group. A friend mentioned to me his plans for teaching English in China, invited me to an info. session, and I applied for an internship abroad. AIESEC Minneapolis is the LC that is sending me, and AIESEC SYSU:
http://www.sysu.edu.cn/en/index.html
is the receiving LC. There are about 30 other total college foreign-exchange students in Guangzhou this summer, teaching English; most are from the U.S., and most of those seem to be from southern California (no one else from MN though!).

I am teaching at Bart Foreign Language Training Center:
http://www.bartlanguage.com/index.asp

As far as I know, I am the only AIESECer teaching at Bart. The others are teaching at (a) different school(s). The age range of my prospective students is 5-18. My manager at the school tells me that the school devises my lesson plan, and that my job is mostly office hours, with some classroom time. It also looks like I'll be doing a fair amount of teaching (both English language and American culture) through games and songs. It sounds pretty sweet (and challenging) to me!

I will be living in an apartment, very near (if not in the same building as) the school, and about a block away from the nearest transit station.

Here's a cool video about Guangzhou:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhRQnaCqmBA

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Updates, updates

12:51 PM
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Also, this is my first blog...ever....BUT if you're like me and don't check things of your own accord, you can set up an RSS feed, so that whenever I post something new, you'll get an email notification. All you have to do is:



Enter in the URL, http://easternexpanse.blogspot.com/ and your email.

And click on the confirmation email. I hope that works!

First post!

12:11 PM
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I am teaching English in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, this summer (late May-late August). In an effort to keep everyone up to speed this summer, I've created this blog. I'll put up pictures, and post stories of my experience here. Please comment back, as I would love to hear from you!


- Dan