About China SST
Goshen College began to send students to China in 1980. The SST program was one of the first North American study abroad programs in post-revolutionary China. SST has always been based in Sichuan province and is currently located in the city of Nanchong at China West Normal University. Students will live with hosts on or near this university campus.
During the first six weeks the days will be divided into language and cultural study. Students will spend several hours each day studying Mandarin and listening to lectures about Chinese history and culture. Students may have an opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites, such as the beautiful area in western Sichuan where one of the largest statues of Buddha can be seen and beautiful Mount Emei will be explored.
Students will leave Nanchong for smaller towns in western Sichuan province to assist with English classes in middle and high schools. All Chinese children must learn English and many are eager to hear a native English speaker.
At the end of the service portion of SST the group will leave Sichuan and travel north to Beijing. Along the way they will stop in the city of Xian and visit the site of the ancient Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses. They will travel by train from Xian to Beijing where they will visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Mao’s tomb and other important sites. They will also have the opportunity to explore a portion of the Great Wall shortly before their return to Goshen.
Before leaving Nanchong for their teaching service, the SST group took one more field trip, visiting Lingyun Mountain National Forest Park east of Nanchong. Professor He Mingyu of the China West Normal University’s English Department served as our guide. She had been an exchange scholar at Goshen College in 2002 and eager to meet this year’s group of GC students.
As our time in Nanchong came to an end, we planned a party for our host families to thank them for welcoming us into their homes for six weeks. They were patient with us when communication was difficult, they cared for us when we came down with colds or sore throats, and they introduced us to hot pot restaurants and to KTV (that is, karaoke, a common entertainment here).
October 1-7 is National Week in China, a week-long vacation commemorating the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Schools at all levels are closed, so our classes at China West Normal University were suspended. Although roads and tourists destinations are crowded during this week, we used three of the open days in our schedule for field trips.