First impressions

January 22, 2012

Samantha and I landed in Beijing last night at around 10pm and so we got to see all the New Year celebration fireworks. We’re staying right next to the Forbidden City. So, we’ve been testing the waters with the Internet here. There is some sort of block on certain Google voice call applications, but my Windows Live setup was working just fine. Also, it’s true, there is definitely a block on Facebook access here. I even tried an alternate proxy server and those are blocked too. Nevertheless, we are having fun and loving it. I’ll send you updates as to how we’re doing as we keep exploring and then head down to Guilin.

February 04, 2012

I forgot to tell you about a Sichuan street food restaurant we went to. We ordered and started eating. We had a really hard time eating because the food was so spicy. We killed off a 2 liter of 7-up while eating. Once we gave up because of the spiciness, we realized everyone else was eating their dinner while drinking peanut milk. A few things struck us as strange, drinking peanut milk, wearing plastic gloves while eating, but after burning our mouths, we realized why. Our Mexican taste buds are no match for the Sichuan street food.

February 08, 2012

We are here in Yangshuo now. We arrived yesterday at about noon. Last night, Ping and Greg let Samantha and I join the first orientation group for their graduation dinner. We hung out with a lot of the Seattle group: Dan, Reiny, Tom, Lauren, Jackson, Crystal, and if I’m missing someone, I’ll remember later. We all had an awesome time last night. From what they have told us, they are trying to keep the Seattle group somewhat together and just to let you know, we do our physical tomorrow, classes start on the tenth, and we’ll be completely done by Tuesday, the 14th. That is a total of only five days!

We will send you an update soon!

Alonso Torres


February 9, 2012

I love China so far. I’m in Liuyang, in Hunan province. I am very happy with my placement. My only hope –and things that I asked for regarding placement –was that I be placed in a city (not countryside) and with another foreign teacher. I know some people had a lot of demands and said if they didn’t get them that they wouldn’t go!

I think that as a suggestion to better prepare participants it would be good to explain more about the medical check up (height/weight, listen to heart, vital signs, eye exam, blood/urine test, chest xray, ultra sound) and that they MUST FOR SURE try and bring little things from home to give to students, staff that help you out and for the principal of your school. Also, even though I enjoyed a lot of the people that I met at our orientation and that some people can be really mature for their age, I do think that people under 20 should probably just wait until they are a little older to come. Some people may see it too much as a “party” and won’t really appreciate or understand other cultures.

I thought everyone in Buckland at the Yangshou orientation were very helpful: Ping, Owen, Ashley, Amy, Greg, and many others were very great. I’m really happy that I got the opportunity to come to China and teach =]

Crystal Hernandez


February 11, 2012

China is very, very different from the USA. Buckland luckily provided me with several days of useful training that allowed me to prepare for what I would face teaching in a small Chinese city. I am teaching at Yongzhou #1 Middle School (which is actually a high school) in a city called Yongzhou, located in the southern part of Hunan Province. The only thing I wish we would have covered before departure was how to deal with the isolation of being one of very few westerners in the city. Lastly, Yangshuo (where we held orientation) is the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.

Daniel Casaletto


February 12, 2012

So far things are going fairly well. I’m in Li Xian, Hunan for the next couple weeks. Buckland has offered to let me keep the job if I like it; otherwise, I would head off to Baiyin, Gonsu in the north. Things with Buckland have been quite good. I’m not really sure what I would do without them. One of the schools I’m at is there in large part so that Buckland can have more control over the number of teachers needed rather than having to rely upon public schools.

Thomas Lippert


February 13, 2012

China has been a fantastic journey. I really enjoyed my time in Yangshuo, and I was glad to have the orientation, rather than tossing us straight into the classroom. I met a lot of special people that week that I will see again here during my travels. I’m at the Mianyang Talent School in Mianyang, Sichuan. It’s a fun city and a great school. I just started classes today but the school is very supportive and friendly, and I feel very safe and welcome here. Reiny Cohen is here at the same school with me and it’s great to have someone to plan lessons with and explore the city with. I’m very excited about being here and can’t wait for the adventures I will have in the next 5 months. Thanks for establishing this relationship with Buckland, it’s a fantastic opportunity. I’m hoping to get academic credit for this.

Lauren Freeman


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