over 2 years ago, we (jd2) were the first westerners to ever study on our campus. the 2 teams that just arrived are the second group. there’s a stark difference between how the school received us and how they are receiving the teams that just arrived.
picked up from airport yes yes
given a room to stay in yes yes welcome reception no yes
custom installation of necessities no yes
introduction to students no yes
teacher’s that speak english no yes
introduction to campus no yes
trees on campus no yes
classes set up for westerners no yes
free t-shirts no yes
trip to scenic sites outside of town no yes
teachers that don’t yell at you no yes
trip to museum of WWII mayhem yes yes
trip to largest coal pit in asia yes yes
however, there are some things that have still not changed. each day the schedule seems to be in a state of flux, and punctuality is still not very important… unless a large event is about to take place – thus everything must be dropped immediately for that task! i.e. – today the school had a big welcoming ceremony that we did not know about. we were told it was an “orientation”. we were surprised to find that just 2 hours before, we were asked to review speeches in preparation. when we arrived in our shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops, we were shocked to see a very large formal meeting room complete with a large crowd, vice-president of the university, a large formal banner in chinese and english printed just fir the occasion, lots of cameras (video & still frame), and other staff members wearing western suits.