Greetings from Chengdu! My name is Joe Vincent and I will be one of your instructors for the China South of the Clouds Semester. I hope all of you are excited as I am for this course – I really can’t wait to meet all of you and begin our adventure together this September.
I’ll start by telling you all a little about myself. I grew up in Canton, Ohio, and hadn’t really gone too far from home until I went to Taiwan for one year as a Rotary exchange student when I was 16. Since then, learning Chinese and exploring China and Taiwan really become lifelong passions. In college, I was a Chinese major and spent my summers working in the Middlebury-Monterey high school Chinese language intensive programs. This May, I graduated from the Chinese Literature Department of National Taiwan University where I studied literature of the Ming and Qing dynasties. During my time as a graduate student, I worked with Dragons for three summers. This will be my seventh course with Dragons…I’ve led two custom high school courses, three summer courses and one semester program along the Mekong River.
Just coming back from the field, I’m realizing that I could spend my whole life traveling in China and still have so much more to see and explore. Working with Dragons, I travel around China a few times every year with students. Even after coming back to the same places multiple times, my students help me to see China with fresh eyes, a new perspective, and questions that I had never even considered before…that is what I love most about being an instructor and traveling with students.
As for this fall, we have quite a packed three months ahead of us…in a short 90 days, we’ll travel from China’s capital on the east coast to the western provinces bordering Tibet; we’ll explore some of the biggest cities in the world as well some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Asia; and throughout all of this, we will be connecting with local communities, learning to work together as a student group, and exploring China on our own during our independent study projects, homestays, and expedition phase. In short, we have a lot to look forward to, and I could not be more excited. Get ready for an unforgettable three months…
PS- please submit an introduction of your own at some point in the next few weeks. We look forward to hearing from each of you and getting to know you a little better…