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Shuier says hi

Hey everyone, Shuier here!

This fall, working with two of the most amazing people that I know – Joseph and Gong, I will be one of your instructors. I cannot tell you how excited I am about the adventures we will have together in the coming months. Even though this will be my fifth Dragons course, it will be the first semester course that I take part in. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and getting to know you better as we travel through China. Here is a little something about me until we meet in person!

Kunming, where we will spend a few weeks in during our journey this fall, is my hometown. I was born there, went to schools and uni there, and had my first proper job there. I majored in English for my undergraduate degree, but I’ve always felt that the English I was learning in China wasn’t authentic, so I moved to the UK in 2005 to do my masters in translation and more importantly to be in an authentic English speaking environment, just like what you guys are going to do with Chinese this fall. The amazing thing about experiencing a language where it’s spoken is that you’ll not only be learning the language, but also be exposed to the culture and history from which this beautiful language was born. You will be interacting with people who use it to communicate on a daily basis. You will get to experience first-hand what it’s really like to live in China, just like a normal Chinese person rather than a tourist. I am so happy to take this journey with you.

I grew up in Kunming and later on spent the majority of my adulthood in different cities. I’ve always considered myself a city person and was never that interested in the countryside or nature really. But since I started working as a Dragons instructor, I have had a few opportunities to visit rural China and been closer to nature than I have ever been before. I discovered a different side of me that I didn’t even know existed. I love spending time with our rural home stay family, helping grandma cook, watching grandpa playing with his toddler grandson, taking a walk around the village by myself and chatting with the neighbours. I learned to slow down and appreciate the beauty of life in smaller details which I have missed before. I realised that I can be perfectly happy without a lot of stuff and constant entertainment. In fact, I am actually happier without them. I learned a great deal about myself through learning about a new culture and a new way of life. That’s the magic of travelling. In the three months we spend together, we will go through the highs and lows of travelling. We will be challenged and pushed out of our comfort zones as individuals and as a group. There will be laughter, tears and sweat, but there won’t be regrets!

This fall, let’s embrace China together with open minds and unprecedented curiosity. Let’s explore,  discover, think, question, learn and most importantly, have fun, a lot of fun!

In the coming weeks and throughout the trip, the Yak Board will be our main platform for communication. We will post useful information about packing, homestay gifts and so on here, so stay tuned! If you have any questions about the trip, please feel free to ask here. We are here for you!

Looking forward to seeing some self-introductions here soon.