NATIONAL HOLIDAY: October 1st was Chinese National Day, which gave us our first long travel break. In the European Pepperdine programs, the students do not have classes on Fridays. Therefore, they are able to travel more feasibly on the weekends. But here in China, we actually have classes scheduled on Fridays, and then we are given two longer travel breaks during the semester. China is so large that it's really hard to get very far on short weekends. The flights can be unpredictable as well. There is plenty to do and see locally, but if you want to get to places outside of China or far from Shanghai, it is best to save those trips for the longer travel breaks.
TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: On Friday, Sept. 28th, no classes were scheduled and classes did not resume until Thursday, Oct., 4th. Richard and I decided to travel to Hong Kong. We are on travel visas, which require us to get out of the country every 60 days. The students are on different visas, and so they are not allowed to travel out of the country yet. The majority of them opted to visit Yangshou, while a small group went to Beijing and Xi'an.
LEARNING TO TRAVEL: I LOVE researching travel spots -- hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.! But what I have learned is that doing this research takes A LOT of time. Finding the time to do this AND teach AND serve in my many roles as the faculty in residence is challenging. Thankfully Richard helps a lot in this area. He is great at being in charge of transportation and mapping -- how to get from the airport to a hotel, where the metro station is from our hotel, etc. I feel like every travel group would benefit from having a "Richard" in their group! :)
Students don't have as much experience doing this research. They are learning how to travel-- learning which flights to pick, learning which hotels to stay at, learning how to transport themselves from the airport to their destinations. They are also learning their limits. A majority of the house has become sick -- we have had cases of the cold/flu, stomach flu, and scrapes and gashes from different random accidents. The students clearly needed rest upon their return...only we had class! FUTURE FACULTY: If there is a travel break and you are teaching the next day, I HIGHLY recommend that you do something INTERACTIVE! Keep them moving and engaged, or they WILL fall asleep.