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A Letter To My Family

A glimpse at my first days as a Volunteer.

sunny 75 °F

A Letter to the Family 9/2/2012
From Guizhou Minzu University
Huaxi District, Guiyang

Hello Family,

I am in China. I have been here for quite some time now. I thought I should go ahead and tell you what I’ve been doing.

I believe I told you that I was going to China to teach English. It’s true. I have taught two English classes in China as a Peace Corps Volunteer thus far. This semester I will be teaching one oral English class, two phonetics classes, four listening classes, and a non-major test prep class.

I arrived at my school last Tuesday. I taught two classes on the following Wednesday. Since then I have been trying to get ahead of the game by writing semester plans, lesson plans, and weekend plans. I expected to be teaching a lot of oral English. Instead I will be teaching more listening and phonetics. At first this pissed me off … now I’m least interested in the oral English class. I don’t know why. My attitudes change weekly as I learn more about what I’m supposed to be doing here.

Since I (we) have arrived on campus we have been treated like celebrities. I have a site mate, Melissa. She is a Long Beach, New Yorker with an accent and everything. I think we complement each other well. It’s nice to have someone to say “What the hell was that?” to. We have been learning the ropes, getting to know the teachers and students and fighting off requests to take on additional teaching load until we figure out what we’re doing. It has been crazy.

As for training, I distinguished myself on a few occasions.

  • I was one of only eleven volunteers to achieve the level of beginner high on my Chinese language test. Everyone else was rated intermediate low or better.
  • During our swearing in ceremony my cell phone rang. I chose not to answer it.
  • In our training group photo I was wearing shorts but I was able to hide the fact.

Training was brutal. It was too long, too hard (language), too boring, too busy (six days a week), too whatever. I’m glad it’s over. Our Peace Corps China class had a very short training cycle due to the fact that we trained on University campuses and the class schedules were weird this year (or something like that). Our training schedule was condensed from ten weeks to eight. I believe most other countries get twelve weeks of training.

My battery is running low. This email is over. At some point I’ll get back to blogging. I’ll start setting up Skype dates soon too. I think once I’m through the next week or two I’ll have a rhythm and some me time.

Posted by dfilipia 02:13 Archived in China Tagged china guizhou peace_corps huaxi guizhou_minzu_university

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