Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Class

Today was my first class, American Foreign Policy for graduate students. 40 seats, 48 students wanted to take the class (reminded me alot of Sac State in that regard). Decided to spend alot of time to introduce the syllabus to the students (they are pretty worried by writing a 10-12 page paper in English on US foreign policy, though one student confirmed that if using Chinese A4 paper which is larger than US paper it could be a bit less). They are also concerned about the exams, though I assured them that their past experiences taking exams should well prepare them. Students prefer Power Point supposedly, so I will use that frequently. Interestingly, as I took roll, of the 48 or so students, 13 came from one province (Shandong, home of Qingdao beer; I can only assume as an ocean city and province, that spurs more interest in external affairs), next was Anhui and Henan with 5, most only had 1 or 2 and many none at all (and none from Western and Southern provinces). Students seemed to be basically evenly mixed between male and female; all relatively young, directly out of undergrad I believe. I spent half an hour to explain my life in America to paint that picture, and will do so again in my other class (American Politics) next week. One student asked if they have freedom of speech in my classroom; I said certainly, the topic is America, you can say whatever you want, I don't care. I said that you can say what you want about China, but that is your decision and preferably only if it is relevant to US Foreign Policy.

Otherwise, just finished my 3 yuan (45 cent) cafeteria dinner; its not that cheap outside campus. And I joined a gym and completed my second workout today; one guy was pounding the hell out of the punching bag, like a 50 year old Bruce Lee, wouldn't want to mess with him. Good to have the familiarity of some dumbbells and sweat; Beijingers have already quit wearing shorts as temperatures have sunk into the high 70s temporarily, and think its odd to see my bare legs, but I try to remember that I will get stares regardless so I can wear whatever I want. Hope to get into some pick-up basketball game soon too before winter hits.

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