Our two days of orientation took place within a small radius of the city, but students still did a lot of walking. Staying upright and active may have helped with jet lag – though if this group was struggling, they didn’t show it with their good spirits and readiness to engage and learn. After a couple nights at our hotel by the lovely Beihi Park and orientation sessions at Peace in China (our local coordinator Wang Ying’s organization), on Saturday late afternoon we took the city bus to new campus of China West Normal University. We were warmly greeted by Pearl, our primary coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Office. The host families soon arrived and momentum built as we prepared for students and families to meet. The excitement in the room was strong – both students and families clearly ready for this relationship to begin!
Photos of students with their family members are included below, followed by a few photos of our opening days. Amy joins us Tuesday night and we’ll send a special update after she arrives.
Group members spent Sunday with their host families. Updates about the first day were shared in our WeChat message group – the experiences already include a couple weddings and banquets, a pre-school Chinese language class, a family reunion, some hiking, cooking or gardening together, shopping, and several notable cuisine firsts. Two families got together last night and asked their students to sing for them. Via the latter we learned that the host parents also have a WeChat group and shared a video of that pair singing with each other and no doubt some stories of their own. Included below are some photos shared by the host families from the first day together.
We’ll regather at the university on Monday morning for academic orientation and learning to know the campus. Classes officially begin on Tuesday morning.