The day has finally arrived! In just under 2 hours from now I’ll be taking off from Detroit International Airport for a non-stop 14+ hours-long flight to Beijing, China. I’ve been traveling for a couple days now however, having been flown to Valparaiso on Monday to attend a new Engineering faculty workshop (Tuesday) to help us develop our courses for the coming academic year. Among the six attendees, I was the only one who is going to Dalian. It was very helpful; covering topics such as syllabus construction, active learning techniques, how to effectively motivate students, developing a healthy rapport with students, as well as how to accommodate multiple different learning styles in your classroom. Many of these matters I am woefully underprepared for, but at least I am much less so now.
The project manager for this international initiative between Valparaiso University (VU) and Dalian Jiaotong University (DJTU), Erik, took me out to dinner for these final nights of mine in the country. Suitably, last night I got an amazing all-American dinner in the form of a gourmet cheeseburger – along with a locally brewed IPA from 3-Floyds Brewery! Honestly, I feel an adequate amount of closure after that… 😀
Over the last couple of days and weeks, I have learned many new minor details regarding my upcoming stay in China; some more or less minor than others… For example, now instead of teaching Fundamentals of Engineering and Statics simultaneously for 16 weeks, I will be teaching each of them back-to-back for 8 weeks at a time. I’ll be teaching two sections of students: one group of 50 mechanical engineering majors, and another group of 46 civil engineering majors. Also, I’ve discovered that my living accommodations in Dalian have been fully furnished as well as outfitted with Internet access already. This will save me an extraordinary amount of work and stress in during my initial settling-in period. It will also allow me to spend more time preparing for my classes which will be starting on the 30th of August.
My travels have gone fairly smoothly so far (knock on wood)! I said farewell to my parents at the airport when I left for Chicago on Monday.
I woke up with plenty of time to spare (3:45am) to get to the airport on time this morning in Chicago. Managed to beat the rush hour, return my car, check in to my flights, get through security, and find my gate, all with an hour-and-a-half to spare before boarding. When I got on the plane, I was able to meet up with my travel partner, Rachel, who will be teaching English as a second language (ESL) in the DJTU-VU program alongside my engineering courses. We’re currently sitting at our gate waiting to board the plane for Beijing, and all is well. I am looking forward to writing my first post from the ground in China!
Cheers, and stay tuned!
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