Had to write a profile for my school… in case you were wondering… at the hum-drum writing and lack of swear words.
School Profile: Kaili #1 Middle School
Kaili City, Qiandongnan, Guizhou Province
Located three hours train ride from the capital of Guiyang (贵阳), Kaili is a county-level city under the Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous prefecture in China’s Southeastern Guizhou province.
Kaili City is average in size for a county-level city, 478,642 in population according to the 2010 census. In the past four years, it’s grown to just over half a million. As a result of its size and relatively remote location, there are not many foreigners living in the city. As of this writing, I am one of about 7 living in the city.
The local dialect is a form of Southwestern Mandarin, very similar to Standard Mandarin, although there are some variations in the tones. The Miao language, also spoken in this region, is unlike Mandarin in its construction, but is usually only used among that ethnic group.
People speak some English, but the level of fluency is generally low. Guizhou is one of the poorest provinces in China, but the surrounding villages and nature offer some of the most spectacular views and hiking opportunities in the country.
Zhenyuan is only an hour train ride away (left), and offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and a pleasant river-walk that is lit-up at night (below).
Xijiang is an ethnic Miao village, providing Chinese and foreign tourists with a glimpse of traditional crafts, cuisine and dance (pictured below).
The climate is generally cool and overcast, with summers reaching an average high of 30.5 °C (86.9 °F), and winters an average low of 2.1 °C (35.8 °F). It rains frequently in the spring, almost daily April through July.
The apartment in Kaili is conveniently located near Century Shopping Center, a three-story shopping mall which has a movie theater, several restaurants, and a supermarket inside.
The city center, Dà Shí Zì (大十字) is a 20 minute walk from the apartment and has lots of shopping and dining options. There are not many foreign options, except for pizza and pasta (圣杰士 Jazzy Pizza) and Japanese (Century Shopping Center).
Kaili No. 1 Middle School is a large boarding high school of about 5000 students. It’s one of the more prestigious schools in the area; students from many of the surrounding cities and villages send their children here in order to better compete for access to universities.
Located just outside of the city, teachers are housed in dormitories at the new high-school (新一中）, with another two-bedroom apartment located in the old middle school（老一中) inside the city. Taxis are about 30-40 RMB from the city, 10 RMB from the school, although the number 13 and number 1 bus will take you back to the old middle school for 1 RMB each.
Classes are generally 40 minutes in length and are scheduled in the morning, usually finishing before 1pm. Classes are equipped with computers and smart-boards, as well as a traditional chalk-board. The computers aren’t connected to the internet, however, and sometimes will not read from USB drives.
Students range in proficiency from low-beginner to high-intermediate. Classes usually have at least 60 students and are spread out through the five floors and four main buildings of the school. Make sure you have a good map made for you by your FAO, as the class numbers are sometimes different from the ones on the door.
Meals are served in the cafeteria four times a day, early morning around 6:30, lunchtime at 11:40, dinner around 17:00, and a late meal at 22:20. The food is adequate, but may take some getting used to. Each meal is 5-8 RMB and is a very cheap and filling option. The dorms do not have cooking surfaces in them, but the school or Buckland may be willing to provide one.
There is a convenience store on campus that has basic supplies for the students, fresh fruit and snacks, and beverages. It’s generally open the same time that meals are served, but check the hours posted to be sure.
There is a school shuttle for teachers and students between the new school and the old school that leaves regularly several times a day. While teaching, I spent most weeknights at the school, living in the apartment only on the weekends. Internet is provided at both locations, although it’s generally faster at the new school.
2014 年 06 月
Kitchen and Washing Machine