|Shengda is pretty good!|
|II came to Shengda College from another college in China. I have had only good experiences, perhaps because I did not expect to be treated like royalty, only as a teacher trying to help my students.
The students are great and the staff really helps when needed. For instance I had my purse stolen in the city. Everything except my passport was in it. The liaison person, Coco, was extremely helpful in getting my residence permit back, she even loaned me money until I had access to my bank account again. Yes even my bankbook and passcard were stolen.
Our classrooms are chilly, but that is normal in China. Turning the heat on November 14 and turning it off March 14 is the norm in the part of China north of the Yangtze River. Below it there is no heat in any of the schools or apartments. We get used to it and adapt. After all if the students can live with it why can't we.
My apartment is spacious and bright and repairs are looked after promptly. I pay for the gas to cook with, but it is so cheap, last two months cost me 12.8 Kuai and I cook a lot. Water is delivered to my door and yes I had to pay for it but I don't have to pay for hydro or the inter college telephone use. The school also provides free of charge a bus to take the teachers into Zhengzhou for shopping on Saturdays and picks us up at a set time. We had a Christmas dinner provided by the Foreign department and an invitation to a New Years dinner for foreigners hosted by the officials of Zhengzhou with a concert afterwards. It was a lovely event. There is a post office on campus, restaurants, two small supermarkets, an ATM and a medical clinic which provides free medical care for the foreigners. If you have to go off campus for care, it depends upon where you have to go. You might have to pay up front, I had to, but I was reimbursed for my costs.
The students books leave a lot to be desired, but that is also normal and it helps to have plenty of extra materials to use.
The students do complain about the lack of freedom during the week, but that doesn't stop them from actually finding a way off campus during the week. It is a beautiful campus with a lake and trees and flowers. Really the only thing they don't like are the rules, but that is normal for students everywhere.
I like it well enough here that I hope to be invited to stay another year. The teachers here are friendly (most of the foreign teachers) but we don't really have much contact with the Chinese teachers. They seem to stay to themselves probably because most don't speak English. Those that do speak English are polite and friendly when we meet. I like it here.
January 2, 2005
Zhengzhou City Hennan Province