A Year Abroad: The ASOP Teacher Exchange Program
Carol Hinsdale shares stories and images from her life abroad
- By Jacqueline Drouin
In addition to creating new lesson plans and teaching English to a group of high school students excited to be working with a native speaker, Carol Hinsdale is discovering a new city. In a recent email to the ASOP office, Vermont teacher Carol Hinsdale reported from Lijiang, China that "I have figured out the bus system, how to order a noodle dish, how to get to school and back without getting lost as I did on the first day and where to get a foot massage."
The ASOP Teacher Exchange program has sent over nearly a dozen Vermont teachers to Lijiang, China to teach for a year, but for each of them, their experience in the remote north-western city in always eye-opening. The daily-life in the Lijiang Old Town, which is the best preserved ancient town in China, continues to maintain the original flavor of the local lifestyle and the cultural heritage of the region. The main ethnic minority group that lives in Lijiang are the Naxi Group, one of China's 55 minority ethnic groups. In this area, visitors can see examples of Dongba Culture which has aspects of the culture of Tibet and the Central Plains along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River.
Arriving in October, Carol has had the chance to volunteer in the classroom of Tao Ye, a 2011-2012 Visiting Scholar to Vermont, as well share in traditional holidays such as Spring Festival and Chinese New Year. In her correspondents, she shares images of her daily commute, images from the Old Town, students in her classroom and new friends that she has made.