At the end of September, I arrived in the city of Jishou in Hunan Province, China to begin teaching for the first time ever. I have about 135 students who are depending on me to improve their oral English skills, so I've had to make the daunting transition from student to teacher pretty quickly. It helps that my students are amazing. They're eager to learn, and they're also eager to welcome me into their community. The English department here at the Teacher's College of Jishou University is incredibly different from the English department at Princeton, but I can already tell that being a part of it will be just as rewarding as being a member of the Princeton English community was (and is).
I'm slowly getting used to life in China as well. Jishou is incredibly different from any place I have ever been, even in China. It's a mix of urban development and rural culture. It's a small city (some of my students wrinkle their noses and call it dirty or poor), but I think it's just the right size, and honestly a little magical. And, as the city is surrounded by the most incredible mountains, the views are pretty spectacular. From a writer's perspective, I have to say that this place, and these people, are pretty inspiring.
-Kaylin Blount '16