Blog Archives

Chongqing Memories

I spoke last week at Chongqing University after arriving by a “fast train” from Chengdu. The price for a first-class ticket is quite reasonable for the two-hour ride. I traveled at a speed of 200 kph (120 mph) through many tunnels along the mountainous route. Usually I fly to events, but this is preferable; I just sit back in a spacious, comfortable seat and watch the changing scenery of

Traveling with Jimmy

On April 21 I flew to Beijing to meet my son, Jimmy, after his lengthy flight to China from Washington, D.C. He seemed to recover quicker from “jet lag” than I did, as the next day we toured the Forbidden City in a steady rain. Even through the rain, grey haze and many umbrellas, the ruling place of Chinese emperors was quite impressive. Surrounded by a moat and 30

Life in Imperial China

While visiting Wuxi as a Fulbright Lecturer, my hosts took me to visit the former residence of Xue Fucheng, a Wuxi native, Qing Dynasty reform thinker, provincial administrator and Chinese diplomat in the late 19th century. Touring the many rooms, courtyards and gardens with a guide provided an interesting insight into imperial life. I became intrigued by four Chinese symbols that in the l960s Red Guards had chiseled from

Wuxi, Chattanooga’s Sister City

I was invited to Chattanooga’s Sister City of Wuxi to deliver a Fulbright Guest Lecture at Jiangnan University. The expansive new campus—opened only five years ago on the outskirts of Wuxi—enrolls 20,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. Initially founded in l902, the central government’s push to expand higher education led to the sale of its downtown property to create the new “eco-campus.” Walking around the vast campus, you enjoy

Visiting Beijing

In late March I flew to China’s booming capital city to deliver two Fulbright Guest Lectures at Beijing Normal University. The lovely downtown Beijing campus enrolls 10,000 students, about a quarter of them graduate students. However, like other Chinese universities trying to meet the influx of new students, they are constructing a second campus on the outskirts of Beijing. The attached picture of their main administrative, faculty office and

Chengdu Area Attractions

“All work and no play,” is truly no fun. Fortunately for me, a twelve-person University of Tennessee at Knoxville delegation visited Sichuan University in March to develop student/faculty exchange programs. The SU Foreign Affairs Office kindly invited me to tag along on several of their planned trips and attend a farewell banquet. It was enjoyable meeting fellow Tennesseans so far from home. However, I wore my UTC Mocs cap

China’s Higher Education Push

I am currently living on the Wang Jian campus of Sichuan University, which enrolls 20,000 students, primarily graduate students. Founded in 1896, the “old” campus is downtown, surrounded on all sides by stores and walls, with entry to the university through four guarded gates. Pedestrian entry to campus seems unrestricted, but cars require approval to drive on the campus, with taxis forbidden. Nevertheless, the often-narrow streets are usually packed

Lovely Coastal Xiamen

Last week I attended a five-day in-country orientation in Xiamen for the twelve 2009-2010 Fulbright Lecturers in China, most of whom arrived in September to teach both semesters. We first met in Washington, D.C. last summer. Xiamen is a lovely city on China’s southeast coast near Taiwan. After dealing with unseasonable freezing weather in my Chengdu campus apartment, I boarded the plane to Xiamen wearing about six layers of

Arriving in Chengdu, China

The flight from Shanghai to Chengdu took three hours (about 1,100 miles). The taxi ride from the airport to the city quickly highlighted the economic prosperity of Chengdu, with Jaguar, BMW and Lexus dealerships lining the highway. On one of the major avenues you saw modern, high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Dior. Skyscrapers and huge billboards, like at Times Square, were everywhere. My “foreign expert” housing is located

Shanghai: Year of the Tiger

My plane arrived February 12 in Shanghai from Detroit, Michigan, after a 14-hour flight. Instead of 6:20 am, it was already 7:20 pm in China because of the time difference. We stumbled out of the plane, still groggy and stiff from trying to sleep on unyielding plane seats, and dutifully stood in serpentine lines for health clearance, passport check, custom declarations and then for our luggage. It went smoothly