Fulbright Finale

Nov 26, 2018

Provinces and Regions Visited While on Fulbright Journey

Nineteen provinces/special city regions visited* (Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, Shanghai, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hong Kong, Hunan, Guizhou, Chongqing, Hubei, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou).

Over fifteen guest lectures given at Universities around the country (Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Xiamen, Jilin, Dalian, Ningxia, Nanjing, Wuhan, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Jinan).

Countless adventures all over Sichuan province and throughout the country (Guangyuan Mountain, Ching Cheng Shan Mountain, Enshi Shan Mountain, Beijing Hutongs, Guizhou ethnic mountain villages, Kunming and Dali villages in Yunnan, Xi’an Terracotta Warriors, Shijiazhuang village near Beijing; Gubei Watertown Simatai Great Wall).

Six guest lectures at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. Many friendships built with the Chinese people who visited the Consulate to practice English at these meetings as well as friendships made with the Consulate staff.

Two international conferences (Amsterdam and Japan). One international trip to Japan.

One committee participation to select next year’s Chinese Fulbright foreign language teaching assistants to the USA. 

Many chances to encourage Chinese nationals to apply for the above mentioned FLTA opportunity and one letter of recommendation written for a candidate who got accepted!

One meeting with the US Ambassador to China as well as the Chengdu Consular General.

Almost one-hundred wonderful students who took my classes on Intercultural Communication, Global Business English, and Research Methods.

Countless Chinese lessons with my delightful tutors, Ms. Zhang and Ms. Qin.

One camel ride in Inner Mongolia.

These were the activities of my ten months as a Fulbright scholar to China 2017-2018 – full of adventure, full of activity, full of excitement around every bend in the road. If there is one word to describe this most amazing experience in my life (something I have dreamed of ever since becoming an academic) I would have to say friendships. The Fulbright Program is the leading international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It’s all about learning to appreciate culture while developing people to people diplomacy. I would have to say, mission accomplished!

Throughout all of the adventures, activities, and interactions with students, administrators, and faculty at Sichuan University in Chengdu, as well as throughout the city and the country, I have to say that the most memorable part was developing friendships. Whether it was an elderly lady on the street who met my gaze as I said "ni hao" and watched her cautious expression transform into a beaming smile; or the young front desk staff at my apartment for whom I brought treats every time I traveled to a different province; or the children who shouted “lao wai” (foreigner) as I walked through the streets of an ancient town in the mountains of Guangyuan** and stopped to talk to a local man who got up out of his chair to see what all the commotion was about (see my October 2017 post) – people would gather to see who this stranger was.  All it took was a smile and a willingness to be in the present moment.

People to people diplomacy is all about being yourself. Being teachable and patient. Being willing to suspend judgment and learn from someone else’s ways. Smiling when you feel tired. Not getting upset when you miss the last train out of town and are late for an important meeting, and it's raining and hotter than hell. Showing appreciation for the amazing banquet that has been prepared in your honor. Rolling up your sleeves and helping a colleague check their lengthy article before they send it off for submission. Babysitting someone’s kid while they run an errand.

I thought that my three years living and working in Hong Kong at the Chinese University of Hong Kong was the most amazing time of my life. It was! But now I add the sheer pleasure and utmost honor of serving my country as a citizen diplomat through the Fulbright program in Chengdu, China. I am forever changed by this rich experience. Forever grateful for the lasting friendships forged. Forever mindful that each of us has a responsibility to help make the world a better place – one person and one interaction at a time.

Thank you to the Fulbright Commission and staff for allowing me to represent the USA in China and nurture special friendships that will surely last a lifetime....all with the purpose of building mutual understanding and appreciation among the people of our two great nations.


*China has 34 provincial-level administrative units: 23 provinces, 4 municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing), 5 autonomous regions (Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang) and 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong, Macau).

**Guangyuan is a beautiful mountain region north of Chengdu in Sichuan province where an earthquake took place in 2008. This was the 10th anniversary of this devastating earthquake, and in October we felt tremors


Free 7-Day Email Course