The reasons for relaunching the AITECE website seem obvious: to attract more volunteer for teaching in China and to keep in touch with the returned teachers. It could also be a means of spreading interest in China. But why China?
For anyone who has spent some time there it shouldn’t take long to come up with an answer. For most, their interaction with the people has led to a desire to keep in touch, to learn from what they saw there and encourage others to go and share the experience. China opens eyes to new possibilities and challenges long held values. Whether those who went were fully conscious of it or not, their efforts were contributing to world peace. Positive personal engagement overcomes many of the mutual suspicions and fears that politicians can sew between East and West.
So I start this blog as a means of sharing what enriched my own life and to get others to share what they learnt. I hope it will give more personal and reliable insights into what is happening both in China and in Chinese-Irish circles. There are over 60,000 Chinese in Ireland at present and it would be interesting to know how they are getting on. Also, I am in the same residence as six of them so they will be my sounding board and resource panel!
Keep in touch and send in your own contributions.
Here’s what John has to say about his time in China.
“When I asked Chinese students about their plans for the future they often replied that it was important after graduation to find a good job so that they could look after their parents in old age. I found that this answer reflects a number of things: the enormous sacrifices that many Chinese parents, especially from the countryside, make so that their children can have a better life; the strength of family ties in China and the esteem in which older people are held.”
“It wasn’t unusual to be told by a student that both parents had left the home in the countryside several years before and migrated to a city hundreds of miles away. There both the parents worked, in what many would considered menial jobs, to fund their child’s education. They might all meet together once a year at Spring Festival. Grandparents care for the child or children. Three generations under one roof is not uncommon in China.”
“Now the increasing number of cars on campus reflect the rising standard of living in the cities. I found that pets have become something of a fashion accessory. It wasn’t unusual to see people walking dyed dogs. Sometimes the dog was dyed to match its owner’s outfit. I saw several pink dogs and one white poodle with its ears dyed blue and the tip of its tail orange.”