July 11 Volunteering in China – Global Volunteers

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Today we met for breakfast at 7:00 and took a van to Kunming University for our orientation and first class. The buildings at the University struck me as very interesting.pagoda-type roofs and a little park with a book fair going on. We met our students and several dignitaries in a large classroom. On the podium were Mr. Ha, Director of International Affairs KMG University; Mr. Xiong, Director of the Teacher Training Institute; our leader, Warren Williams; Mr. Lu, Party Secretary of the Kunming Municipality Education Board; and Mr. Wang, Director of Kunming Municipality Teacher Training Program.

They talked about the history of Global Volunteers in Kunming (since 2005, 19 teams have come, with very good results) and appreciated our teaching methods. Warren welcomed the students and predicted a great three weeks. with one requirement: Donet be shy speak up! The last speaker, Mr. Lu, urged the students to forget theyere teachers and work hard as students. He closed with the hope that we would enjoy our stay in Kunming and that the program would be successful.

Then we met our classes. Gretchen and I took the lowest level class and were surprised at how much they knew and how outgoing many of them were speaking English. We had more time than we expected, but fortunately we had plenty of materials and activities, so the time was very productively spent. We found out that they like to sing and many are quite creative with script writing and performing.

We left the university at 11:30 and met for lunch in our usual dining room. It seems like every meal I get to experience something new and ites all delicious. During the afternoon we used the free time to go to Wal-Mart (which turned out to be very different from the stores back home), get acupuncture, nap, and prepare lessons.

At 5:30 we met in the lobby to go to a wonderful ethnic restaurant that was over 100years old.
We were hosted and toasted many times by Messrsw Yong, Wu Yanming, Xiong, Baokun, Chunfu, and Ha. We were seated at two round tables in a room that opened onto a courtyard and were brought many, many dishes.

The most exotic dish I saw was a duck with the head on. Mr. Ha urged us at the beginning of the meal not to think of ourselves as Chinese and American GVs, but as one family. He had spent a year in Missouri and had many interesting opinions about American culture and food as well as about Chinese traffic and minorities. Everyone had a great time.
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