KIEFER IN CHINA
Dr. Rudi Kiefer, professor of physical science and director of sustainability at Brenau University, traveled to Hefei, a city in Anhui Province in east China, as an instructor for students who are slated to come to Brenau in 2017 to complete the last two years of undergraduate degrees in nursing at Brenau’s campus in Gainesville, Georgia. The group, comprising 16 nursing majors, will complete the first two years of their studies at their home institution, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, in a “2+2” agreement with Brenau. Kiefer was scheduled to teach three courses to the group – medical terminology, conversational English and earth science – April 10 to May 21, 2016.
Brenau has two additional 2+2 agreements with Anhui Normal University, located in Wahu, which is about 100 miles from Hefei. The first Anhui Normal students, majoring in early childhood education, will arrive in Gainesville in August to begin their junior and senior years as Brenau undergraduates. A second Anhui Normal group, majoring in English, will arrive for the 2017-18 academic year.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Key differences between Brenau and ASCM – This place is huge! Not much scalability to make things more conducive to faculty-student interaction, which is not a universally embraced concept here. For example, the classroom is not great for teaching conversational language. It is really a small, traditional-style auditorium in which students all face the same direction and listen to lectures. Interaction is virtually impossible. I’ve got feelers out to find a room with movable chairs.
What this university needs, and I plan to bring it up at the next faculty meeting (ha ha), is some kind of common room, with comfortable seating, where students can get together informally and just shoot the breeze with the teacher. Asked several people and they’ve never heard of something like that. Gawd, I miss the Math SPA! I think our new Chinese students are going to love the close interaction with faculty and other students once they get accustomed to it.
One thing is driving me crazy!! It baffles me – and I have not found out why yet – that some building super routinely locks exit doors from the huge Classroom Building A/B but does not switch off the lighted signs with arrows that point down three flights of stairs to the exits from this cavernous giant. I just spent an entire 10 minutes trying to get out after class. Finally, a housekeeper showed me the door – literally the only open door out of the building. Note to self: find out what would I do if we had a fire?
Class performance, similar to that we occasionally find at Brenau, is very mixed. Some students are highly motivated and working on their English, which is indeed improving. A few others seemingly are not. I wonder whether the those latter ones really want to come to Brenau for a nursing degree.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Completely new crowd this weekend. It’s the Labor Day celebration in China – one of the biggest holidays of the year. We have three days off. Most of the students tend to go home to be with their families, so a big part of China is on the road, railroad and in the air – all trying to get somewhere else. My nursing students thoughtfully arranged for four medical school sophomores working on M.D. degrees, to keep me company over the holidays. It’s marvelous how they take care of me and make sure that American teacher doesn’t get bored.
Weekend of May 24: excursion to Chao Hu Lake, one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the country. A young psychology professor, Ms. Liu, is the host and the students are Zhang Xinruo and Zhou Zi Xuan. Quite to my surprise, those Chinese names are actually beginning to stick in my memory.
From the lakeside tourist street in Zhang Miazhen to the little island it’s a 20-minute boat ride on the tourist ferry, or eight minutes by fast motorboat. Out of courtesy they ask my preference. I am a motorcyclist, so of course I say, “Speedboat.” That decision earns us a fast, bumpy and splashy carnival ride at the hands of a very determined woman pilot who looks remarkably like the natives at Cherokee Reservation, North Carolina. We arrive soaking wet and thoroughly chilled, but exhilarated.
After a cold shower of lake water, what’s better for warming up than climbing a mountain followed by climbing a tall tower? We find the walkway to the top of the mountain, and after an arduous ascent, we’re rewarded with seven flights of stairs to the top of the pagoda. On coming back down, to my surprise, we see a “Bamboo Forest” below the tower that looks just like our own on the Brenau campus in Gainesville. So, that legendary Japanese professor who planted the huge bamboos at Brenau must have been on Chao Lake too.
The following weekdays are filled with routine classroom teaching, mostly medical terminology because that’s the hardest subject. I need to pack into it as many varieties as possible of “-itis,” “-otomy,” “-oscopy,” “trans-,” “peri-” and related word combos or we won’t get through the essential parts of the textbook.
On Friday, 16 pairs of eyes are glazing over, so I decide to do the last hour about earth science. Lightning! The pictures get everybody’s attention, and my noisy explanation of lightning and thunder attracts onlookers from the hallway. Even Dean Han pops in to watch, and I feel obligated to explain to her later that yes, we did do medical terminology earlier.
All 16 pairs of eyes leave for May Day weekend, but not without designating a chipper group of female students in the Traditional Chinese Medicine program to take me to three meals of Chinese food every day and lead me on more exploring of the Hefei area. Before they show up, Ding Qian, my future Chinese physician, takes me to watch band practice “at the Department of Humility,” according to her WeChat message. (It’s actually the Humanities Department, but how about that innovative idea, Drs. Locey, Dobkins, Frank, Outtara, Robles, Brim, and all?)
The band is fantastic. Who would expect so much musical talent in a group that’s entirely composed of medical students? I can’t get to Youtube or Vimeo from here, but maybe I can post a couple of video clips later. The traditional Chinese instruments they are mixing with Western ones lend a subtle, unique flavor to the musical pieces.
What luck! I’ll be leaving AUCM on May 21, but their concert is scheduled for May 20. They will be performing Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Given the blend of instruments, this promises to be a very unusual experience.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
Ding “Arthur” Haidong
Arthur is one of the few students of mine who aren’t locals from Hefei, Anhui. A native of Chu Zhou, he is a freshman in the 2+2 Program, completing the first two years of his nursing major at AUCM before finishing undergrad studies at Brenau. Money is a concern, a thought that’s expressed by all the students in the group, but he hopes to work it out. After graduation he hopes to get employment in medical-surgical nursing at a large hospital in Shanghai or Hong Kong.
Hefei has a mountain. The students don’t know why. It sticks out from the flat terrain like Stone Mountain does near Atlanta. I suspect that the Hefei specimen is a granitic inselberg, with curved surfaces like the ones in the United States. When I arrive, I check the local bedrock and it looks like a quartzite with sharp edges.
The bus ride to the mountain is an adventure for foreigners who haven’t been to Asia or been steeped in similar squeeze-ins in Europe as I have. Almost two hours on two different bus lines to get to the western side of Hefei in breathing distance of roughly 100 instant friends on the bus.
You can only get onto the bus through the front door by paying one Yuan (15 cents), if it’s a “regular” bus, or two Yuan for one with air conditioning. With that many people packed in, of course, the a/c doesn’t really do much, and windows are opened for some relief. Still, it’s a more relaxing trip than it would be to drive a car. I’ve driven in big cities in France, in the United States (New York City, Boston, Los Angeles), and in other countries, but I’ve never seen such an oozing, honking accumulation of two-, three-, four- and more-wheeled vehicles.
The whole phenomenon moves forward like a slow mudslide, changing lanes and direction constantly, with hundreds of small objects like pedestrians and scooters breaking away from the edges and getting whirled around in the middle.
Our cars have buttons to activate the horn. However, it appears that in Anhui Province the button is wired to merely interrupt the horn for short moments, and keep it blasting otherwise.
I wish I could get one of their t-shirts with the cool Chinese writing on it. All the stuff in the stores has English-language print, because that’s what sells around here.
My favorite shirt inscriptions, seen in the school cafeteria:
“SICK AND TIRED”
“KEEP IT REAL”
That’s all for today ! R.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The interesting thing about a comprehensive China experience is that it isn’t a comprehensive experience. It’s more of a collection of snapshots of individual observations that accumulate in great numbers before they unite into some kind of greater mosaic.
One such mental snapshot is that the students here don’t like to be in the sun. There are greenspaces, and the weather has been warm and sunny on many days, but nobody is soaking up any rays. Parasols and surgical masks are popular, especially among the women. It’s funny to even see people in traffic, riding scooters with an umbrella on top to shield against the sunshine. I guess I can remove “basal cell carcinoma” from the medical terms quiz that we’re having tomorrow. Skin cancer is not a major threat under these circumstances.
The students are taking very well to my profiling project with mini-interviews. In fact, they are quite excited to be featured on a website at Brenau University.
The trinkets I brought along went like hotcakes: key-ring whistles for the ladies, necklace-style ID card clips, luggage tags, ballpoint pens, note pads. Mostly made in China, but greatly appreciated with the Brenau insignia added as these items return to their country of origin. I’ll need to bring even more next time since they are so popular. Resolution: be super extra nice to our admissions people for having supplied such a rich bounty of gifts.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Sissi” Chen Anting
Sissi is a first-year nursing student from Tianchang, Anhui. Her career plans go well beyond the B.S.N. degree. “I’d like to go on and earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice,” she says. “My dream is to treat patients independently, and write prescriptions.”
To escape the tainted air of the major cities in both China and the United States, Sissi would like to work in a smaller town after graduation. “It’s more beautiful, too.”
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Don’t open a tanning salon in China. Not in Anhui Province, anyway, or you may starve. I had thought for sure that the surgeon-style face masks worn by so many women are to ward off air pollution. But Zhang Xinruo just assured me, positively, that it’s to avoid a suntan. Pale skin is considered more beautiful around here. She could hardly believe that American students would perch outside on a bright spring day trying to catch as much sun as possible.
Now it makes more sense that the pageant queens we talked to off campus (About what? Haven’t a clue.) were covered up to the eyelids.
I think we signed some sort of “Make a Wish Foundation” greeting card. My wish would be to win one of those gorgeous Chinese motorcycles, especially the Qingqi.
Quiz #2 in class today. They had a long holiday weekend (May 1 – Chinese Labor Day), but I had assigned a hefty bunch of pages in the medical terminology textbook. Let’s hope they did well. I need to grade all this now.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Ron” Chen Gong Yong
Ron is a freshman in the AUCM/BRENAU 2+2 program. His home town is Lu’an in Anhui Province, a city smaller than Hefei, counting “only” 1.6 million in the built-up area and 5.6 million in the metropolis.
Ron enjoys excitement and action in the nursing profession. His goal is to work toward a doctor in nursing degree and then work in an emergency room environment.
“It’s the most professional workplace I know,” he says. “I like the fast-response work setting and its multiple tasks.”
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Rhonda” Huan Rong
Rhonda’s freshman year in the 2+2 program has her determined to become a nursing educator.
“I am most interested in the health and wellness topic,” she says. “I want to make a difference and practice in a social kind of setting.”
Although she’s a native of Hefei, Anhui, her career plans include a possible nurse practitioner degree at Brenau, and maybe later even work in the United States. “The program offered by Brenau University attracted my attention, and I look forward to being a student in the United States.”
Poster outside the Nursing Building: “Dream of China” – the President’s plan for national development, high- level student achievement and innovation.
University front gate is shown in the picture.
That’s all for today! RK.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Alice” Chen Amin
Alice is in her first year, but she looks forward to a number of more years to complete her nursing education. She is undecided about whether to aim for a degree in nursing, followed by a Ph.D. in education, or to go all the way toward the Doctor of Nursing Practice. Her dream is to someday be a faculty member of a nursing department.
As far as a specialization in health care, she keeps her options open by choosing “medical-surgical.” If her career path does not lead into a university, she hopes to work at a major medical center.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Breakfast with a few of the students, 7:30 a.m. in the Dining Hall as usual. One of them is quite active and interested in the course, but he is going into a major funk about his studies. It’s the pressure. The students typically have four classes a day, plus two hours of required “study hall” (twice a week, I think). Classes also meeting on Saturdays. The prospect of having to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) not too long from now, and the ISPN (International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses) and NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination for nurse) tests later on, doesn’t help. The kid is really stressed out.
What can I say to help him? Faculty can’t make the curriculum pressure go away. It’s imposed by external forces, curriculum committees, accreditation boards and the progress of society at large. The only thing I can think to tell him is that I was in college for 12 years, various degrees, three countries, and the pressure was always there. It was felt in the 1970s and ’80s just as much as it has been in the decades that followed. Once you’re in a professional career, I tell him, the performance pressure is just as strong. You want to stay employed, get a raise, get promoted, move to a nicer office on the new campus, stuff like that. The best you can do is do the best you can do, and not get ulcers when you drop the ball on some items. Strive for excellence, not perfection. At least that’s the advice I can give from my own personal vantage point.
But the medical terminology cramming has been a little dry. So I’m trying something different on Monday. For today (Friday) I’m taking the last 45 minutes to talk about earth science. “Severe weather!” Looking at tornadoes, houses ripped apart, cars laying on their roof gets their attention back, after an hour of leukocytes, bronchoscopy, laparoscopic surgery and all those other “foreign” foreign words they will encounter in health professions. As they are sitting there wide-eyed, I hurry to add that, in spite of that cataclysmic event in 1936 from which many older Gainesvillians date other important events in their lives (as in “I was born six weeks after the tornado of ’36.”), Gainesville is not in “Tornado Alley” in the United States. They’ll be safe at Brenau. The bad stuff happens mostly in Oklahoma.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Two conversational English sessions, 90 minutes each. I’ve thrown those in at these additional times because the three regular meetings we have during the week are just enough to cover the essentials in the medical terminology textbook.
For this, we have a classroom with movable chairs now, so at least we can sit in a circle. The naked walls, floors and ceilings in every room give me tremendous trouble with hearing. There’s an echo in every room, and the sound rolls around in the ceiling spaces several times. Not helpful if you have age-related high-frequency loss. Doubling up on low frequencies due to the room acoustics makes for difficult conversation. But we work with what we have. I haven’t seen any carpeted rooms anywhere, not even in the dean’s office.
The students are predictably shy in the Saturday sessions. I loosen things up as much as possible, showing flashy pictures of Brenau, America, my native Germany and various other places (including the brutally high Maya pyramid I climbed on the Yucatan trip with the biology class in February, which was my personal epiphany for 2016). Slowly, some of my Chinese students are coming out of their shells. We have a few guests, too, medical (M.D.) students that show a delightful level of interest in anything that’s taught in English.
Monday, May 9, 2016
It worked! Fewer sleepy faces today. Especially for a Monday! Instead of slugging through the exercises in the textbook, I show an iStan human medical simulator video that I shot a few years ago at Brenau. Then we go through the video with a handout I made beforehand, working through all the medical terms that come up in the video. Mostly patient assessment, which will be very important in their nursing careers. I want them to be fluent in all the common terms. The mood is much more upbeat than in textbook-only lessons.
Mental Note No.3124 (Food/Dinner topics): Careful with those noodle dishes. You step up to one of the many counter windows, point at what you choose from the plates on display, and a staff person cooks it for you right there.
Lots of staff behind those counters, there’s a cook at every one of about eight windows, and the dining hall has three floors. However, they like to heat the liquid part of the dishes to a full 212 degrees, and then they manage to make it even hotter. Against the laws of physics, somehow it seems to acquire the temperature of volcanic lava. There are no trays, so you get to carry your hot bowl to a table. A klutz like me, of course, has to come away with some nasty scalds on his fingers a few times.
Mental Note No.3125 (Food/Dinner topics): People don’t get a soft drink along with their meals. If you’re thirsty, they advise to have a bowl of soup. But most students carry a bottle of water at all times, and they consume it in the course of the day.
Ivy here has a special bottle, with a flower added to the water for flavor.
It’s a Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica, I think). Personally I’m mourning over the “forget-about-coffee” situation an campus. Got a jar of Nescafe in my room, though.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Big Nurses’ Day coming up May 11 and 12, with formal celebration Wednesday night! Somehow I got dragged into playing the piano for the opening act. One advantage I have over other people that got volunteered to do a performance: If it doesn’t go well, I can just leave the country.
Anybody here will assure you that the weather in Hefei is changeable. I think I can see the reason. Most of the time, there’s a white spot showing on the satellite image, stretching from Shanghai to Hefei (purple “X”). It must be caused by the jet stream shifting north and out of the way.
That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Apollo” Zhao Chen
Apollo comes from Dang Shan County in the northern part of Anhui Province.
“Getting into nursing was my parents’ suggestion, because of the solid employment opportunities,” he says. But he was soon swept up into the excitement of the profession.
“My uncle’s passing from cancer some months ago showed me the importance of the nursing profession. I would like to work in ICU (intensive care unit) settings where lives are in the balance. I want to help save those lives.”
As the son of a farm family and part-time construction workers, he hopes for some much-needed scholarship support.
“I am also excited about Brenau because of the university’s reputation in the arts, and I want to engage in artwork also when I’m there.”
Footnote: A few years ago, we had another Asian student at Brenau, an M.B.A. candidate, who chose “Apollo” as his “American” name. He was a bit of a cut-up and a natural leader in his cohort.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
The students here deserve all the credit. They turned a lengthy six-week stay at a university in a spartan dorm room into a fun-filled series of activities. The same is true for the faculty. Here’s a quick catalog of the adventures within the adventure they have provided: daytime field trip to giant Lake Chao with Professor Liu and students, including boat ride, mountain climb and “adventure lunch” (Can you identify what that is you’re eating?)…. Shopping in the mega-malls of downtown Hefei…. Photo opp with the manager of the piano store just because I hammered out a few minutes of ragtime in the showroom…. A day at the City Zoo…. Formal three-course luncheon in a fancy restaurant with Dean Han and faculty…. Bicycle tour with medical (M.D.) students.
The rest of my now short time here seems equally full: There’s a nursing festival tonight… “Something” – I don’t know what – coming up this Sunday with Prof. Ada Zhang and students…. Plenty of good food that is apparently very good for me because I’ve been gaining weight.
The bottom line is, if I’m sent here again, I need to bring a lot more trinkets and little gifts, which are greatly appreciated by students and staff, although they do not even come close to compensating for the time and effort that everybody is devoting to the program and to the entertainment of Yours Truly.
P.S. To my surprise, a number of medical students students (two shown with me in the photo) that are not in our program are latching on to my group, too. Instant friends. I can only surmise that lots of young people hunger for contact with someone from another country. Or, maybe it’s just the cool Mexican t-shirt that I bought in Yucatan a few weeks ago.
I’ll elaborate some more on the social contact topic in the next blog.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
“Hefei is very urban,” said my friend Sonia Robles of the Humanities Department in a recent conversation.
Quite an understatement!
Hefei , in China’s Anhui Province, is mind-numbingly, mega-city-maximously urbanized.
Apartment buildings that lend new meaning to the term “city block”…
construction that never seems to be putting up “just one” high-rise building…
…and work in progress that will tunnel underneath most of Hefei , providing the routes for a badly needed metro subway system (bottom right in the photo).
In the first days of my visit, I thought we had simply wandered upon “rush hour”. But during daytime, I learned quickly, every hour is rush hour. Quite contrary to the term, there won’t be a rush at all when your bus or car sits in the traffic jam with several thousand other rushes. Note the characteristic little urban haze over the city, reminiscent of our own Atlanta.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Sylvia” Zhang Xinruo
“Do you think my English will be good enough?” Sylvia asks, characteristically underestimating her abilities. As the daughter of a corporate buyer and a corporate accountant, this first-year student from Hefei City is used to planning ahead and consulting with teachers as well as peers. “I hope to find an employment opportunity in the USA someday as a family nurse”, she says.
The possibility of using principles from Chinese Medicine in combination with Western medical care holds a fascination for her.
Friday, May 13, 2016
National Nurses Day Celebration, May 11-12! It was a great show. Sketches, songs, dances, all done by nursing students. Above are some of the nice-looking performers…
…below: not so nice-looking, but making up for it in noise volume. Yours Truly, playing the piano in the opening act of the ceremony. The task was to lay a musical background onto the animated AUCM video playing on the screen.
Play well, or play loud. –Which?
Teaching the medical terminology is actually simpler than I had expected. We’re going through as much of the textbook as we can in the few sessions we’ve got. But the students need *everything* – so I’m throwing in topics that come up in the everyday work of nurses. The American epidemic of obesity. Stroke risk. Smoking cessation. Tobacco-free campus. Osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency. Sore throat, visual inspection of oral lesions… all these are common terms for us but entirely new to Chinese students.
Handing the quiz back today. A whole bunch of people made 100%. A couple of them have not had any passing grades, but they’re also not showing much interest in the course. Interesting coincidence: the ones who are willing and eager to be shown in the “future Brenau nursing student” profiles are the students who do well in class.
Besides the careful protection from solar ultraviolet, which is practiced particularly by the female students, another major cultural difference struck me early on. The students like to be in the classroom, studying intensely, 15 to 30 minutes before the session starts. Even to the point of wolfing down breakfast in the dining hall (I sometimes have to accelerate my cereal to keep up) just to arrive in class early. Not likely among the non-Asian students of Brenau, or any other U.S. university I’m familiar with.
For 8:30 a.m. classes in the U.S., the most dedicated students walk in at 8:29. The majority get there at 8:30, and our more insouciant young American scholars arrive at any time thereafter.
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Jack” Liu Zhang
Many Chinese students like to wear jackets and t-shirts with flashy inscriptions and references to rock festivals. First-year nursing student Jack is more the quiet, friendly “guy next door”. As the son of a factory worker and a homemaker, he’s the first academician in the family, and the object of the paternal pride that comes with this role. It also comes with great responsibility, so Jack hopes to expand on his future nursing degree by adding graduate credentials. “I can work in a hospital, but I’d really like to teach health science, especially pediatrics, at a university, “ he says.
In his free time, Jack enjoys basketball and the wildly popular LOL (League of Legends) online game.
SPOTTED ON CAMPUS
T-shirt slogan of the day:
PLEASE FEED THE ARTIST
Not in the 2+2 program, but way too nice to pass up:
Profile of “Ivy” Zhu Yingying and Zhang Xiaoyu
Zhu “Just call me Ivy” Yingying and Zhang Xiaoyu are students of Chinese Medicine at AUCM, so a few years from now they will both be physicians.
Xiaoyu is eager to work in a medical center in Hefei (pop. 7 million) because there are more learning opportunities than she’d find in smaller towns. Thanks to the medical knowledge she’s accumulating, she has already been assisting her parents with health maintenance and wellness advice.
“It was my father who suggested Chinese Medicine,” says Yingying. “This discipline already knows cures for many common illnesses, and it achieves them with fewer side effects than Western methods, and without relying so much on chemicals.” Both students felt enormously inspired by Dr. Fu Jian, a visiting professor. Their goal is to eventually move to Shanghai or Beijing , applying Chinese Medicine protocols for pain reduction and cancer cures.
In the evening, Ivy (Ying-Ying… what a nice-sounding name!), Xiaoyu and “two L’s” Hellen, the third in that lively trio, take me out to get dinner beyond the campus gate. The six-lane city street comes to an abrupt dead-end there, and dozens of vendors with battle-worn motor tricycles are selling traditional foods, cooked on the spot, day and night. Chicken, pork, and anything else that can be steamed or fried, right off the propane burner on the tuk-tuk. That moniker is actually from Thailand, but the Chinese students like “tuk-tuk” right away when I introduce the name.
The three are working on a class presentation about doctor-patient relations, and ask shyly if I might be willing to help by looking over their script, and smoothing out the English.
They buy me a large bowl of stuffed dumplings, and a cup of chilled gooseberry juice (it’s quite tasty, really!), so how could I say no?
If you want your food even fresher than that, you can always go to the farmers market near the lake.
Watch your fish being gutted while it’s still wiggling. But I really prefer the dumplings and gooseberry juice.
Songs, dances, costumes, sketches… an incredibly flashy variety show of talent at the Nurses Day celebration.
To wit – these are nursing students, not dance or fashion design majors!
Two of my 2+2 dinner buddies: Sissy (Chen Anting) and Rhonda (Huang Rong).
Portrait of a future
Brenau Nursing Major:
“Shirley” Xie Wenli
2016 marks Shirley’s first year at AUCM. Her father is an engineer and her mother is a homemaker, all from Hefei City.
Once she has her nursing degree, Shirley would like to work on the birthing or a neonatal station of a hospital because “I like babies very much.”
In addition to nursing work with newborns and infants, she’s interested in psychology, particularly the counseling side of the discipline. She doesn’t yet know if her university education will go beyond the BSN degree, but given her multitude of interests, it’s likely.
The USA strikes her as a “friendly, open society”, where she will acquire skills that can serve both countries.
Quite an honor: Photo op with the senior faculty at the end of the Nurses Day Ceremony.
Present author is the oldest dude in the bunch. I felt bad about covering the student behind me, but the photographer made us close up tight.
I haven’t mentioned the electric teapot that’s in every room of the International Dorm, along with a 1-quart thermos. A really useful accessory ! It’s not advisable to drink water straight from the faucet, so I can boil it and drink it hot (Chinese style), or let it cool off first. Also great to make a fast cup of Nescafe. Now that I’ve found the JoyMart that’s about a mile from campus, I can keep my room stocked with the little “2+1” instant pouches. Still don’t know what that means, but they make a decent cup of instant coffee.
I just read this on the WorldWatch Institute website: “Formerly the ‘kingdom of bicycles,’ China is expected to add as many as 220 million new vehicles between now and 2020.” Here on campus, bicycles are still ubiquitous and parked in long rows or small mountains. But the most popular vehicles are electric scooters, which I haven’t seen in the U.S. They are quick and silent. Of course, they have something in common with the electric vehicles in Georgia: As long as the electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants, there is very little net gain on the clean-air front.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
The game works! Two optional Saturday “Learning English” sessions. Once again, it’s attracting half a dozen students from outside our program. We play the “Hot Seat” game:
Divide the group into two teams. Two students sit with their backs to the projection screen. For each team, 1 word is displayed on the screen. The teams take turns giving verbal clues, in English, to their players in the hot seat. No gestures allowed, and the word must not be spoken in any language. The Hot Seat players take turns making guesses.
The team that scores five correct guesses first wins the game. Simple terms to be used (the students find it challenging to make up clues in English): iPhone; tree; box; table; bicycle; book; wall; soup; garden; train station; bus stop; …
The students are royally entertained for over an hour, and really get into the excitement of it. I should have some prizes to give out if we do this again.
Resolutions for future instructional activity of this kind:
(1) bring video clips showing nursing situations (Youtube is not accessible here, and other video sources also seem to be nonfunctional; use the clips to teach the medical vocabulary that applies to the action shown;
(2) for conversational English, use group games, have some simple prizes to generate extra enthusiasm.
Having my entire Brenau picture archive with me helps a lot too, I’m showing lots of images of campus life, athletics, student groups, sororities, classes, and so forth. This group is predictably excited about the many international students and activities I’ve been showing.
It’s a lengthy walk to the JoyMart to stock up with more Nescafe, but one sees the most interesting vehicles.
The “streets” near the campus are really pretty fast 6-lane highways, so one has to admire the strong nerves displayed by the slower drivers and walkers.
Quite incongruous: hand-drawn trailer, on a road where there are huge trucks and buses roaring past, horns blaring.
Whatever this is – he gets to where he’s going.
My tree-lined route to the JoyMart.
I could swear those high-rises in the background were less than half that height last week. All construction work seems to be pedal-to-the-metal around here.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Big kudos to Ada Zhang and her fiancé. She’s the English teacher associated with this project. They take me to the Geology Museum and the History Museum in Hefei. Both institutions are very modern, well curated and fascinating to explore. The bus ride to the spot where we meet (Old Campus of AUCM downtown) is another rendition of the Hefei Symphony for Horns and Mixed Orchestra.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Last one! The 6-week course term is coming to an end tomorrow. A number of students can’t be talked out of bringing farewell presents, so I’m discarding boxes and wrapping pretty little porcelain tea cups in my t-shirts, to be squeezed into the suitcase. Good thing I’m leaving all the books behind that I brought.
Some colleagues told me they don’t know what that clear brandy is that the Chinese like to use for their frequent toasts? One sip and I know it. It’s a German Obstschnaps. A.k.a. “Obstler”. Available and popular just about anywhere in Southern Germany. My grandpa used to make it in the middle of the night, right after 1945, chiefly for the occupying U.S. Army troops. It bought him a number of badly needed favors back then. He was about one step up from a sharecropper. His two strawberry-blonde daughters (one of them my mother) were flirting with the GIs but ended marrying German boys, and that’s why it’s possible for me to be in Hefei, sampling Anhui liquor and finding it identical to Grandpa’s fruit Schnaps. (What they call “Schnapps” in the USA doesn’t resemble the German or Chinese product in any way).
Regarding medical terminology (remember that one? It’s the reason I’m here), I have moved away from the textbook for the time remaining. It wants to catalogue every disease known to humans. And although I’m a science geek, not nursing faculty, I’m convinced that what the students need the most are terms dealing with everyday nursing practice – not rare pathology terms and exotic endocrinological disorders. So Friday’s worksheet deals with a more-or-less random selection of “routine” nursing vocabulary… diabetes, injections, oxygen, and the like.
Friday’s worksheet deals with a more-or-less random selection of “routine” nursing vocabulary… diabetes, injections, oxygen, and the like.
Same time, same place (the intramural fields), but the sword isn’t part of the graduation rituals. Used in Kung Fu practice. They ask me to play along, but I’m deficient in even the most elementary moves of face-kicking, 360-degree rotation with double fist impact, and mock amputations using this 24-inch blade. Just a color picture will be fine, thankyouverymuch.
Saying goodbye to Lilly and Ding Qian too (photo at left). Ding Qian (“Flying Coach” shirt) has been a most dependable guide and helper throughout these 6 weeks. She’s a medical student, not a nursing major. If I ever get sick, I want her to be my doctor.
Incidentally, it’s impossible to find a t-shirt around here with something printed on it in Chinese. English is all the rage.