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108 braids... the devotional representation of a sacred Tibetan number. Photo by Rebecca Thom, China Semester.

Greetings from Annie Jiao- Local Director

大家好,我是焦铭娜。

Da jia hao, wo shi Jiao Ming Na

Hello everyone! My name is  Annie Jiao and I am the Local Director for the BYChina program. I joined Dragons in 2008 and I’m very happy work with the Princeton group! I graduated from Qingdao medical college, and received my BA in Chinese literature from Beijing Normal University. I have always loved language and culture. Luckily, in China you’ll have the opportunity to learn a very beautiful language. What else comes to mind when you think about China? Panda? Silk? Kung Fu? The Beijing Opera? Bicycles? Amazing food? Friendly Chinese people? All of this is part of my amazing country. Another interesting thing you will be able to witness is the blend of both traditional China, and modern China, and how these two worlds intersect and inform one another.

Kunming, the city where you’ll spend the most time,  is located in southwest China. Chinese refer to Kunming as “spring city” because the weather feels like spring, every day!  During the summer, many places in China are as hot as 104 F. But Kunming will stay a comfortable 70 F.

I’m from Qingdao, the farthest eastern part of China, and I moved to Kunming ten years ago. I was fascinated by the minority populations within Yunnan, and the fact that there are at least  25 different minority groups within the province, each with their own unique culture.  As an example, the Dai people consider  water to be the purest thing in the world. They believe that water can purify and remove the negative, and therefore the ‘water-splashing festival’ is their most important annual celebration. The Mosuo people have one of the last matriarchal communities in the country. Their females don’t marry, and typically they live away from the  men.  The males within the Wa minority group are required to keep their hair long, so they are more graceful when they are dancing.  There is so much to explore and experience within my country!

I love to travel. I have been to more than 20 counties and have learned so much from being on the move. I visited the US for the first time in 2008 and traveled from New York to San Francisco. I saw such different landscapes and met so many lovely people. I believe you will find and enjoy many similar experiences here in China. I can’t wait to meet all of you. Until then!

很快见!Hen kuai jian!

See you soon!

Annie