Alumni Comments 2009

We wanted to say, “Thank you!” again and again for wonderful summer experience. Every single one of us had the time of our lives. Again you did a masterful job of putting together this complex program with so many facets. Everything was just perfect – the organization, the hotels, the meals, the tours, the school, the precious students, and the kind, supportive, and dedicated teachers and administrators. We honestly cannot think of one thing that you could have done better or differently. Although the flu scare may have been a struggle for you, you made it a simple matter for us. We never felt inconvenienced.

We hope that we American teachers did a satisfactory job for you and the school. It is such an honor to be able to participate in this program with you two.

Thank you for all your dedication and service to promote international understanding and a global perspective. This experience and last year’s trip have changed our own lives and given us a greater appreciation for China.

The management and organization by the school was truly superior. I commend them for their great work and dedication to make this an effective summer program for the students, the American teachers, and the school. The food was superb. The chef could not have been better.

We appreciated him so much. We were overwhelmed by the personal interest and effort that he put into creating banquets for us as every meal. The hotel was VERY nice. The rooms were clean, well air-conditioned, easy access to the school, good breakfast, good TV, fast internet connection. This hotel is a great find. We loved the visits to Xi’an and Beijing. Not only were the treasures we saw by day tops, but the shows that we saw in the evening were truly spectacular. Although I missed the Hangzhou/Wuzhen portion of the trip, I had seen it before, and I got to see a whole new aspect of China in the schools where I did my presentations. It was an honor to be invited to Karen’s home for dinner. The visit to the Humble Administrator’s Garden by Michael was a great morning to remember. The tour guides were very good. Charley was always there and available for anything that we needed. His services made the extensive travels seem so carefree. I was so impressed that he called our room in Xi’an to make sure the room was OK and to give us his room number in case we needed anything. Lina in Xi’an and Eric in Beijing couldn’t have been better. Thank you for all that you did to put together this valuable experience. We loved every minute of it.

School management was excellent. Everything ran as smoothly as possible.

Our food was bordering on gourmet. Every meal was a feast with the chef's checking with us frequently to make sure everything was fine.

The hotel in Tongxiang was great. I highly recommend it for next year. The Xian hotel had some problems with drainage in the shower, but that was minor.

Xian was my favorite tourist city, but we enjoyed Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tongxiang, and Beijing as well. Wuzhen is nice too. I think future groups would enjoy all of these as well.

This year's guides were great. Charlie's English is fantastic, and he was very patient with us and knowledgeable. Lena and Eric were also excellent.

I thought that last year's trip was the best possible, but this year's school experience, tours, hotels, and meals were even better. I don't know how it could be better.

PS: The dim sum dinner was so great!

Lewie and Maureen J.

2009 & 2008 Tongxiang Summer Program

Thank you a million times for such an amazing opportunity to teach and travel in China!!! I had a blast meeting and working with so many interesting and talented teachers. I also appreciated and enjoyed working with Sabrina and Lu, my host teachers for the 6th grade classrooms in Nanjing. They were so welcoming and really made me feel comfortable in their classrooms. Teaching was challenging but so rewarding, and I love my memories of Bronwyn & I staying up late laughing and revising lesson plans for the next day. This type of teaching really required active, flexible plans and it was fun trying to make that happen for the students. The students were so kind, and we ended up teaching each other many things in that busy two-week period. Thanks again, Sally!!!! I am still organizing photos and enjoying all the incredible sights I captured in the photos! What a great time!!! Thanks for making this happen.

1. How was the management of the school? Excellent!!!!

2. How was the food at school? Good... Thanks for the yummy baked goods, fruit, and ice cream treats.

3. How was the accommodation? Nice... I liked having the grocery store and restaurants so close by. It was a perfect location to get a cab if you needed to go some place that wasn't in walking distance.

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? The cities were great. I liked Hangzhou and Suzhou because there was something tranquil and peaceful about the people there. I liked Beijing for the crazy bargain shopping opportunities. Oh, that was a blast!!! I also loved Xi'an because of the Terracotta Warriors.... Obviously, I am having trouble picking just one favorite city!!!! I really loved them all!!!

5. How was the service of your tour guides? Fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things about JJ. He was so patient, calm, and wise! I wish that I could provide for him a tour of Alaska that was just as great as the one he created in China for all of us.

Christie M.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

1. How was the management of the school? Great! Teachers were friendly and respectful. Middle School VP was always willing to help and Jim was beyond gracious and helpful. What would we have done without him and Yifei. They never said no to us.

2. How was the food at school? Okay but there was nothing to complain about. It was good enough for students so it was good enough for us also. I wished there were chopsticks so we practice our eating skills during the day.

3. How was the accommodation? Great.

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? Amazing. I would have to say my favorite city was Nanjing because we spent more time there so it felt more like "home." After Nanjing, I would say Beijing. The city just seemed really beautiful, organized, clean (except for the air), and driving was a lot better. Shanghai was nice but there was so much construction going on that I don't think we really got to appreciate the incredible architecture that it has to offer. Also, the first couple of nights that we were there, it was raining so we weren't able to see as much of the lights & splendor.

5. How was the service of your tour guides? Excellent. JJ was incredible. I'm so thankful for him.

6. Any other constructive suggestions? Thank you for an incredible, unforgettable trip. I hear from students almost daily and teaching was by far my favorite part!

Kafi P.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

First of all I would like to thank you for helping to make this summer such a success. The whole trip was fantastic!

1. The management of the school was well organized. As you know Yifei and Jimmy did a remarkable job of coordinating all the school related activities from meals, to bus, to classes and any other need we had. They both were so willing to do anything and everything we asked.

2. The food at the school was cafeteria style food and after a few days everything tasted the same. That being said I did eat everyday in the cafeteria and was able to find something I could eat. I am glad that we were able to eat dinner out as that gave me an opportunity to taste other types of Chinese food and have a little more free time.

3. The accommodations were great. I usually don't travel that well when on my own. Thank You!!

4. All the touring was excellent and it is very hard for me to pick a favorite city because there were special places in each city. However I did really enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou. The Lake is very special and I loved watching the people dance in the evening and exercise in the early morning. Also in Hangzhou the visit to the Lingyin Buddha temple was interesting and a great place to explore. I also enjoyed the visit to the tea plantation and getting out of the city and seeing some countryside. In Suzhou The Humble administrators garden was special and the night cruise on the canals (an extra) was not to be missed. However, being able to see the Terracotta Warriors and the Great Wall are definitely on the list of "have to do" when visiting China.

5. JJ our tour guide was GREAT! He had a good feel for our group and his personal skills were excellent. He was very informative but did not give sooo much information as to seem overwhelming. In all of my traveling this was the first time I have traveled on a tour and i think JJ helped to make the experience very positive.

6. As for the teaching experience, mine was very positive. My homeroom teachers were helpful, the students fairly well behaved and it was FUN. I think that future teachers should be told that this is a summer camp and the students need to have fun and be active. I know you mentioned it but I don't think I really realized what you meant until I was there. A combination of literature, hands-on, music and games that require listening and oral language, and some quiet follow-up activities to the literature or theme (just to give the teacher a little break) is a good combination. I mentioned to my host teachers that it would be helpful next year if all the students brought markers or crayons, scissors and a pencil or pen and they thought it a good idea. In addition to the list of materials you suggested I would add chart paper.

Terry C.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

1. Management at school was good. Michelle and Angela were very helpful.

2. The food was outstanding.

3. The hotel was great. Mr. Mao and his laundry service was a real perk.

4. I liked all the cities we visited, especially Xi'an. The Terra Cotta soldiers, and the Great Wall were highlights, plus Beijing and the Olympic village.

5. Tour guides were excellent, very helpful and informative.

P.S I am already recruiting for next year! Perhaps I will return as well.

Gayle T.

2009 Tongxiang Summer Program

1. How was the management of the school? Sally was an excellent liaison and advocate for the teachers. The support that Jim gave with computers, sound system for the dance, transportation timeliness, etc… was excellent. The enforcement of discipline at the Junior High level was ineffectual, except when Mr. Gong was present in the room. I was touched that the school felt that we deserved a bonus, and the going away party, with all the singing, was really fun. The Chinese and other classes were nice to have. I was pleased that the computer lab was open for me, even when I was the only user (three times.)

2. How was the food at school? For me, it was fine. I’m not picky. Having the fruit snacks in the afternoon was GREAT, and I really liked the ice cream.

3. How was the accommodation? It was very good. The Nanjing hotel was beautiful.

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? All the tours were interesting. It was good that there was flexibility for those who had been to China before to explore on their own. I loved the West Lake in Hangzhou, the canals in Suzhou, cycling on the Xi’an Walls and wandering the Muslim market.

5. How was the service of your tour guides? Very good. I liked it when they told about their personal lives and history. They were also nice to modify the last day for the 1.5 hour shopping spree in Beijing

Marya I.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

The program this year was well-organized and a huge improvemnent from last year's! The opening and closing ceremony were good in length and didn't last too long. A lot of us felt that the school went way over and beyond their call of duty. The addition of Jim and Yi-fei made life a lot easier for all of the teachers. In addition, the new workroom and restrooms were way superior.

As for the food, it was as good as cafeteria style food is going to get. However, I felt like the school made too much and there were a lot of leftovers at the end of each day, which is a waste. The accommodations were excellent, with the hotels in Suzhou and Nanjing being the best. Our tour guides were very good and patient with our many demands, although I felt that the tour schedule was extremely hectic the day we left Nanjing for Xian. Many of us were bone tired by the time we arrived in Xian. By far, Beijing was my favorite! There's so much history and culture there, I wish we could've spent more time there!

I feel extremely lucky to experience the program again this time around, with all its improvements. The school is very good to us and I'm humbled by the amount of work that goes into making this program the success that it is. I really did learn a lot from the other teachers.

Thank you for accepting me into the program this summer.

Leng T. from California

2009 & 2008 Nanjing Summer Program

1. How was the management of the school? It was managed very well. It was nice having two people who were there to support us if needed. It was nice to have a written schedule and notes when things changed.

2. How was the food at school? The food was better this year than last year, but to be honest with you I only had it a few times. I found that I liked to eat Chinese food better when I only eat it one time a day.

3. How was the accommodation? The accommodations were wonderful!

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? The cities we visited were great. I really liked Xian. Guilin was a great city to see also.

5. How was the service of your tour guides? The tours were great.

6. Any other constructive suggestions? The program was wonderful.

Thank you for letting me go twice. It was such a wonderful experience. The group of teachers was so positive and the teaching was great.

Christina C.

2009 & 2008 Nanjing Summer Program

I want to thank you and everyone from the school for organizing such a wonderful program. I have to say that one thing I enjoyed most about my time in China was the teaching. I appreciate all of the time and effort that you and everyone at the school put in to organizing our teaching and traveling. To answer your questions:

1. I did not have any management problems in my classrooms. The room teachers were helpful when they were in the room and the students were respectful towards me

2. The food at school was ok.

3. The accommodations were fine. The hotel in Nanjing was very nice- great to be able to stay at such a nice hotel for an extended period of time. The location of our Beijing hotel was great- close to many points of interest. The hotel in Shanghai was a bit out of the city and not as centrally located as other hotels in the other cities we stayed in.

4. The cities that we toured were great. I had traveled to several of them the previous summer, but was still excited to return (Beijing, Xi'an) because there was so much to see in each. My favorite city was Hangzhou because it was so beautiful and there was lots to do- biking, exploring around the lake, etc.

5. The tour guides were great. They were very accommodating and helpful.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to participate in your program. I really had such a fantastic time teaching and traveling.

Kelly M.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

I first want to say thank you so much for the opportunity to travel to China and have such a wonderful experience. It was my second trip to China, but I think this trip was such a better experience than the first time around (5 years ago). I found myself falling in love with China this time, its people, its food, etc. You were such a great director to work for and I really appreciate all of your hard work to make sure we had such a great trip. I had such a great summer and am so thankful for the entire experience. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

1. How was the management of the school? I found the school to be incredibly supportive. Jim and E-Fai (I can't remember how to spell her name!) were so enthusiastic and helpful. I thought the school officials were very appreciative of us and sought to make our teaching experience fun and smooth. They were kind, helpful and when I was observed, the woman observing made a point to thank me and gave positive comments about my teaching. I thought that was above and beyond what was needed. I thought the rewards of travel, airfare reimbursement, etc. were well worth the small amount of teaching we did.

2. How was the accommodation? The hotels were wonderful. I felt that the hotels, especially Nanjing, were really comfortable, clean and safe. I also liked the locations of the hotels - they seemed to be close to grocery stores, other shopping, and it was easy to get to places from them. Again, as compensation from the school for our teaching, they were above and beyond what was necessary, which was so nice to experience.

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? I really liked Shanghai the best. I wish we had a bit more time there. I also really enjoyed Nanjing, which was a new city for me. I thought that the cities you picked to visit were a great representation of China and we were lucky to see such great things - like the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Warriors, etc. It was a great itinerary and a fun trip!

5. How was the service of your tour guides? I thought JJ really made the touring fun. We found ourselves laughing a lot at him and his jokes! He seemed to know exactly how long to give us at some of the sites and understood when we were hot and needed to get back on the bus. He always thought about personal needs (water, bathrooms) and pointed them out whenever he saw places to take care of ourselves. He was really great! The other tour guides were competent and very knowledgeable.

6. Any other constructive suggestions? You did such an amazing job preparing us! I know you spent hours and hours preparing for the trip and then worked tirelessly to make sure everything was smooth. I appreciate your graciousness and helpfulness whenever we needed it. You were so laid back with us and treated us as professionals, which was really nice. It was such a great experience!

It might be easier if the school could give a very brief overview (a few sentences) of what each grade level has learned in their English instruction (for example, the 1st graders have learned about American holidays and songs) and what specific supplies the students have. Then, the American teachers might have a better idea of what they could teach as enrichment, especially in the higher grades, and they could gear their instruction a bit more strategically. Thanks again - I can't say thank you enough for the opportunity. It was such an amazing experience that I will remember forever!

Kim F. from Colorado

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

As always, I cannot express how thankful I am for having had the opportunity to go to China. Before ever having gone, I never considered it one of my priorities, although Agustin did. I wasn't very educated on China, then. After going 2 years ago, I always recommend it to whomever I talk to about traveling and I tell them it is my favorite country so far. In regards to the evaluation:

1. How was the management of the school? Everything seemed to flow very smoothly for us. We knew exactly where we needed to be, when to be there, and what we were expected to do. It couldn't have been better!

2. How was the food at school? The chef was the best!!!! The food was delicious every single day. We loved how he would come talk to us on some occasions and having the opportunity to put a face to the chef of such wonderful meals. He was very accommodating to our preferences, but he also tried to give us opportunities to try new things he thought we should try. That speaks very highly of him and his considerations. Oh! And he also went out of his way to teach us a little bit about the meals. It couldn't have been better!

3. How was the accommodation? Before arriving in Tongxiang, we were told that the hotel was not going to be in a central place as it was before. I was a little sad because I remembered having great experiences in the area, but once we got there, the hotel was excellent!!! It had great service, great food, and beautiful rooms. And, more than being at a walking distance from the school, if you chose to walk, you crossed a beautiful park with so many new things to see and learn. I loved it. We did not miss out on anything for not being centrally located. Taxis were always available and accessible. It couldn't have been better!

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? Every city we visited was fantastic. Each activity we had was unforgettable. I don't think I can pick a favorite. Perhaps I can say I enjoyed Beijing very much because we had more time to be there, let everything sink in, and explore some. It couldn't have been better!

5. How was the service of your tour guides? The three tour guides were exceptional. They made us feel comfortable and forget we were in a completely foreign environment. They also went out of their way so many times! For example, Charlie helped us organize a surprise dinner cake for Agustin one day by arranging it all, Lena helped us get our camera back once we thought we had lost it forever by calling the hotel and making sure they did their best to help us, and Eric never hesitated when plans did not work out as they were supposed to after the storm in Beijing and rearranged everything for us as well as finding extra things for us to enjoy like the night food markets. They couldn't have been better!

6. Any other constructive suggestions? I just want to express how happy I was with the group. It was such a wonderful group of people. It was amazing to be surrounded by such expertise and yet such humility. The team was AWESOME!!! It couldn't have been better!!! Thanks again!

Gloria M.

2009 & 2007 Tongxiang Summer Program

Although I am back home, my heart and memory are still beaming with fond memories of my China experience. I want to thank you again for giving me this amazing opportunity. I have been in email contact with several of my students and we have been sharing pictures and information. The students are looking forward to starting their school year on August 31st. OK and now... on to the evaluation:

1. How was the management of the school? I dealt mostly with Edward Gong (and sometimes with the technology support team). I was supported when needed. I really didn't have any problems. You kept me (all of us) informed and supported. You did an excellent job and it was greatly appreciated.

2. How was the food at school? I actually enjoyed trying the foods that they eat. I guess it just took a little getting used to

3. How was the accommodation? The hotels were fine. I liked that the hotel was so close to the shopping area. It allowed for us to walk to the store to pick up materials to use at the school. I felt safe where we were and the people at the hotels were friendly and always tried to address our needs. Accommodations were fine.

4. How were the cities you visited? Which city was your favorite city? All of the places we visited were amazing, interesting and enlightening. There was always so much to see and learn about - I loved it all! Our tour guide, JJ helped make our visit to China that much more enjoyable. He was nice, knowledgeable, friendly and always looking after our needs. As far as a favorite city... I honestly loved them all. Maybe Shanghai and Beijing come to mind for some amazing sights, shopping and venues.

5. How was the service of your tour guides? The tour guides were wonderful. JJ was especially great. Having water provided for us on the bus was greatly appreciated.

6. Any other constructive suggestions? Having a strong background in special education and behavior management, I didn't find student behavior to be a concern. Because it was a summer camp-like program, I think some of the students just didn't want to have the two weeks seem like drilling and lectures (as you mentioned several times in your pre-trip packet information). Learning can and should be fun.

I had an AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL TIME working with my students, the administrators, the other American teachers in the program and of course you. I can't thank you enough for an amazing summer experience! I have made new and wonderful life-long friends. I hope to visit my new Eskimo friends (from Alaska) sometime soon. My teacher friends here in Chicago are hearing all about my adventures. Next month I will be having a Chinese dinner party at my home (for friends and family) and I will be showing a slide show of my pictures from my trip. I plan to serve Chinese food, but I do not plan to include heads, whiskers and tails of things. I have been wearing my pearl earrings and necklace and I really love them so much. I think of China every day. … So again (and again and again), thanks for arranging massages, giving me tips on purses, and making this wonderful summer experience so AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for your time, dedication and friendship. (Xie Xie)

Sharon S.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

The scope of my China experience still resonates with me today. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity! I enjoyed meeting my diverse, well traveled, fellow American teachers, working with my hard working, respectful sixth graders, collaborating with my kind, flexible Chinese teachers and experiencing the wonders of Chinese culture and history. I actually have a hard time responding to the question, "How was your trip to China?" because it is difficult to say all of that with one word! I usually say, "Amazing"! Your efforts with organization and hospitality did not go unnoticed. This was my first trip to Asia, and I felt treated like an honored guest. It is nearly impossible to go hungry on this trip even with dietary limitations. I am a vegetarian with a funky stomach. I found the food delicious, plentiful and full of variety. Our accommodations were clean and comfortable. Even when we were sick, you brought comfort and medicine. The communication prior to the trip was helpful in my preparation. I also appreciated the communication throughout the trip. I felt respected and professional throughout the trip. It is clear that you want to provide a positive experience for everyone involved in the program. Thank you!

In response to your questions:

1. The Management of the School-If this is in regard to E-Fay and Jim, I cannot help but say excellent. They were easy to talk to and accommodating. I appreciated their time and management of the program getting us to places we needed to be and getting us the materials we needed to teach. I was pleased with my overall experience in school.

2. The food at the school-It was so thoughtful and generous of the school to provide our lunches. It is difficult to be critical. Everything tasted fine going down.

3. Accommodations-I found our accommodations mostly very good. I liked the comfort of a western hotel for being away from home for such a long period of time. Most of them were clean and spacious. I particularly liked our hotel in Nanjing especially for our long-term stay. The staff was friendly and helpful.

4. The Visited Cities-I honestly had a favorite part in each of the cities! Hangzhou stood out for its beauty near the water and the temple. However, my all time favorite, most memorable part of the trip was climbing the Great Wall in Beijing. I am still in awe! Looking back, I can't believe I was on two domestic flights in China. I saw a remarkable amount of Chinese treasures in a short period of time!

5. Tour Guides- JJ was awesome! How can you not love a guy who clearly loves his country and can laugh at his own jokes? JJ was informative and helpful. He set a nice tone throughout our visit. He listened when we had questions or concerns. Some of us were teasing him that we would not know what to do in the airport by ourselves on the way home. Who was going to hold our flag and tell us where to go?

Debbie N.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

Hello! Before I answer your questions I would like to thank you for the opportunity of teaching my students in Nanjing and working with such positive Chinese professionals and dedicated American teachers. I very much appreciate having been part of this program. One moment that speaks to my experience is when I felt so comfortable in my Chinese classroom that I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in my classroom in the US. Before the trip I had so many questions about what China would be like and I was envious of family members and friends who had visited the country. My experiences exceeded my expectations and I came away feeling connected to the vibrant people and communities I encountered in China.

Answers to your questions:

1. Management of the school: I think I interpreted this word several ways. I Faye and Jim created an amazingly positive connection between the school and the American teachers. They were so hospitable and served as wonderful ambassadors for the school. They did everything they could to meet our needs. Our cultural programs were excellent. I was very fortunate with my two room teachers. They were always present and very supportive of me and our students. From the moment I met them they were very welcoming to me.

2. School Food: Overall I would say it was satisfactory most days. I went to all lunches and selected foods for my meal. Some days the food was more appetizing than others. The cafeteria staff seemed to try to meet our American sweet tooth by providing several baked goods each day.

3. Accommodations in Nanjing: Very good and the housekeepers always did a very nice job taking care of our room! I also liked the location in the city very much.

4. Cities we visited: I was very glad we visited each city, each for its own special characteristics and the sites visited. My favorite city was Suzhou- I loved the optional evening boat cruise on the canal. Everyone of us who was on that ride was so enthralled by the beauty and charm of the canal and the lighted lanterns and reflections along the way. Our hotel location was in a smaller, less urban part of the city and that made it very comfortable and relaxing to walk around and explore. I loved seeking out the twin pagodas with fellow teachers. Visiting this city in the first week was very good timing. I was so appreciative to visit so many Chinese cities. Seeing the terracotta soldiers in Xi’an and visiting major sites in Beijing were major highlights for me- the Olympic site, Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

5. Service of tour guides: JJ, excellent, for many reasons, as you know! Jason in Beijing: good. He is a very pleasant man. He accommodated the desire for shopping in Silk Street.

Sue H.

2009 Nanjing Summer Program

For me the entire experience was fabulous.

1. The school management was great. I felt very supported by the staff members who were there to help us (we were treated like royalty). The students were wonderful, so well behaved and appreciative and open to learning. The supplies that were available were all that I needed. I especially appreciated the water supply...I drank a lot. The classes offered at lunch time were both interesting and informative. Mr Mao was kind, gentle, understanding and supportive. The banquets were delicious and so FUN

2. The food was wonderful, the chef so accommodating. I loved every meal.

3. The hotel was perfect...the distance to the school allowed us to walk to and from when we felt so inspired, the proximity to the town was also great for wandering and exploring when we had a few minutes of free time, the room was light, clean, comfortable and roomy, the breakfasts were good, the air-conditioning was a god-send, the laundry service was timely and inexpensive.

4. The touring was great. The place I liked the most was Tongxiang - our home. After that probably Beijing because there was so much to see and do. We had time to wander on our own in the evenings, something that I missed earlier in the traveling.

5. The tour guides were all great. My favorite was the one we had in Beijing. He seemed so responsive to our needs...willing to change the itinerary a bit when we wanted and he allowed us more time to wander on our own during our touring. Perhaps it's just the nature of traveling in China to be in such a controlled situation. Generally it would have been nice to have more time to wander or shop. We always seemed to be on such a tight schedule.

I have no complaints... Thank you for allowing me to participate in the program, I feel honored to have been a part of it. I worked hard and learned so much. It has colored the way I'm teaching this year.

Kathleen J.

2009 Tongxiang Summer Program

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for being given the opportunity to teach in the Summer China Travel and Teaching Program. I had extremely high expectations about the program and was thrilled beyond imagination. It was an experience of a lifetime! Everyone in the program was so welcoming and helpful. I don’t believe that I have ever been so well taken care of. I would like to give special thanks to Michele and Angela for all of the extra attention given to everyone after their work day. They spent every evening planning and chaperoning all of us teachers to try new Chinese experiences; including foot Massages, hair/head massages, manicures/pedicures/, restaurants and my personal favorite Karaoke! At school they attended to our every need. I was impressed by the professionalism of the entire school staff and would like to thank them for presenting us with cultural lessons during their lunch breaks! The cuisine at the school was delicious! We were so spoiled; the chef even came in to meet us and ask us what we preferred to eat.

All of the hotels were nice; especially our home/hotel in Tongxiang! I enjoyed every city we visited. It was especially nice to be able to climb the Great Wall! The best part of the travel experience was visiting the cultural sites! The history of China is so rich and ancient. My favorite places were The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors, Hangzhou (West Lake), Wuzhen, and the gardens in Shanghai and Xi’an. The guides were very knowledgeable. The only thing that I longed more for was, free time to explore outdoor markets and back alleys.

The best and most memorable part of the experience was in our hometown of Tongxiang. I truly enjoyed teaching the children and learning so much from them and making friends with the Chinese teachers. To be honest, I don’t know who learned more, the children or me. The cultural exchange in class was exciting and inspiring. The parting at the end of the closing ceremony was a testimony to the intrinsic value a program such as this. The students were emotional to the point of tears pouring down their faces. They grabbed me, clung to me and told me that they loved me! We all parted crying. I left emotionally drained yet heart filled. I know that I have left an imprint of caring love from the United States in Tongxiang and I have also brought home the same love from China to share with my family, friends and students here in the United State. Imagine a world where everyone could exchange such wonderful cultural experiences? The song my classes sang at the Closing Ceremony says it all; “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Tonya I.

2009 Tongxiang Summer Program