My name is Jasmine. I’m originally from Taiwan and have been teaching Mandarin in the Bay Area of northern California for seven years. Initially, I wanted to join the China Educators Program but it got cancelled. A firm believer in the quotes “When one door closes, another opens” and “Everything happens for a reason”, I welcomed the new opportunity to join the Nepal Program instead and adjusted my plan as quickly as I could in the midst of wrapping up the semester. As I learn more about the program each day, I now wholeheartedly embrace the change and am deeply grateful for this great opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Global experiential education is new to me. My closest experiences with students outside of the classroom are local field trips and a week-long mini course on learning Chinese culture through hands-on activities (cooking, martial arts, folk dance, Chinese painting, calligraphy, board games, etc.). As a language teacher, I always think that language and culture go hand in hand and cultural competence is best fostered when one is immersed in that culture. Through interaction with people in the Chinese-speaking communities, students may gain clearer insights into how and why Chinese people may behave in certain ways that differ from their own. And perhaps more importantly, they will be able to recognize the Chinese-speaking world’s diverse cultural perspectives, practices, and products due to its ethnic, linguistic, and regional diversity; they will then be able to make cultural comparisons with an open, inquisitive mind. To this end, I plan to lead a school trip to China next summer, which has brought me to this program. I’m eager to learn how to design a meaningful trip, manage risks, facilitate student experience, and more.
There are many quotes from Pico Iyer’s article that resonate with me on a personal level, and my favorite one is “…traveling, we are born again, and able to return at moments to a younger and more open kind of self.” Ever since my first solo trip to Bali in my 20s, I’ve always tried to travel light and stay nimble. As my knees become less flexible with age, I feel that my mind has also got more rigid. But travel has never failed to awake the sense of childlike wonder in me. I’m excited about what I will see and learn in Nepal and what I will encounter on my inner journey during those two weeks.
Look forward to meeting everyone,