A Jersey Guy's Excellent Adventure in China

Tag: Henan University of Technology

After a Remarkable Year, No Longer a Stranger in a Strange Land

When I started this blog a year ago, I envisioned it as a convenient way to keep my family and friends updated on my adventure in China. It turned out to be something far more meaningful. Writing almost daily about what it’s like to live and teach in China connected me with thousands of readers… Read More ›

Farewell to Cheap Massages, Cute Kids, Squat Toilets, Dirty Air

Cruising 35,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean on my flight home to the U.S., I’m thinking of all the things I’m going to miss about China – and some of the things I’d just as soon forget. Things I’ll Miss: My students: Their English was lousy, but they really tried to learn. They treated me… Read More ›

Graders of College-Entrance Exam Draw Tight Security

The entrance to our campus office looked like a military base yesterday. A soldier guarded the front door, special IDs were needed to get in, and the perimeter was cordoned off with plastic tape. The tight security wasn’t the result of a bomb threat or a visiting dignitary. It was because teachers were inside marking… Read More ›

Newest Iowa State Fan is an Adopted Child From China

During a farewell dinner at a Zhengzhou hotel with my teaching colleagues, I noticed several American couples walking by with Chinese children. It turned out that the kids had just been picked up by their new adoptive parents. I met couples from Georgia, Kentucky, Colorado and Iowa. The ones who adopted healthy children had waited… Read More ›

Marking Tests, Calculating Grades Like Waterboarding

  I just finished marking 150 final exams and calculating year-end grades for my five classes at Henan University of Technology. I’ve never been waterboarded, but I imagine the experience is similar. Our grading system is so convoluted that it must have been invented by Rube Goldberg. It’s divided into five parts, with each representing… Read More ›

Rolled-Up Shirts Provide Bellyful of Laughs

If you want a bellyful of laughs, check out the most popular summer fashion for Chinese men. When the heat is on, they like to roll their shirts up to their chest to expose their stomachs. And there’s usually plenty to see. It’s rare to see rock-hard abs. More often it’s a bulging mound of… Read More ›

Don’t Mess With the Kung Fu Kid

Here’s some video of the Children’s Day I wrote about in my last post. I wouldn’t mess with the Kung Fu Kid.

Children Wear Snoopy Shirts, Do Magic Tricks, Draw Their Dreams

After teaching at a Chinese university for 10 months, I got to hang out with a younger group of students yesterday. A teaching colleague took me to her daughter’s elementary school for Children’s Day, when the kids put on a show for their parents. Each class staged its own performance. The third-graders I watched sang,… Read More ›

Farewell From My Students: “You Always Laugh Us”

I taught my last class today at Henan University of Technology. Finals are next week and then I’m off to Hong Kong, where I’ll spend four days before flying home on June 15. I received many farewell notes, letters and videos from my students. Saying goodbye was an emotional experience for all of us. Over… Read More ›

Students Use IVs, Birth-Control Pills to Prepare for College-Entrance Test

The national college-entrance exam, known as gaokao, is a life-changing event for Chinese students. It determines where you go to school, what kind of courses you take and, to a large extent, what kind of future you’ll have. Some students fuel marathon study sessions with amino-acid IVs, while anxious girls take birth-control pills to avoid… Read More ›

Pesky Mosquitoes Circle Like Vultures, Turn Skin Into Mass of Itchy Bumps

It’s mosquito season in Zhengzhou, which means a never-ending battle to keep the pesky insects from turning you into a mass of itchy bumps. We’ve got mosquitoes back in New Jersey, but not like the ones here. Chinese mosquitoes seem to be made of indestructible material that makes it almost impossible to repel or kill… Read More ›

Cave-Like Apartment Has No Doors, Closets, Wires

A Chinese teacher at my university recently showed me the new apartment she bought for her parents. I’ve seen caves that were more habitable. The apartment is basically a concrete shell. The floors are unfinished and the walls are unpainted. There are no doors, no closets and no wiring. The kitchen has no appliances and… Read More ›

Students Swelter or Freeze in Classrooms With No AC, Heat

Summer and winter are tough times to teach at Henan University of Technology. Classrooms aren’t air-conditioned and there’s little or no heating, so students either freeze or swelter. Temperatures have been in the 90s this week and my classrooms have felt like a sauna despite the constant whir of ceiling fans. By the time class… Read More ›

Zhengzhou’s “Michigan” Has Huge Campus, Tall Trees, Job-Hungry Grads

  Just a mile or so up the road from Henan University of Technology, is the much larger, more prestigious Zhengzhou University. If this were the U.S., my school would be Emporia State and Zhengzhou would be the University of Michigan. Zhengzhou dwarfs Henan in size and influence. It has about 50,000 students on its… Read More ›

Female Students Wear Wedding Gowns for Graduation Photos

During the past week, I’ve seen a lot of women wearing white wedding gowns on the campus of Henan University of Technology. Since most of the female students I know don’t even have boyfriends, I was puzzled until I found out the real reason: graduation photos. Seniors have been getting their graduation photos taken this… Read More ›

Tardy Student Gives Teacher a Lesson in Manners

One of my freshmen was scheduled to compete in a speech contest at our school last night, but she didn’t show up until the event was over. She told me her father took her to dinner in downtown Zhengzhou and they got stuck in traffic coming back to the university, which is on the outskirts… Read More ›

China Cracks Down on Eating Endangered Animals

Good news for readers horrified by my recent post about rich Chinese people dining on tiger meat: China is cracking down on those who eat rare or endangered animals. By closing a legal loophole, authorities can now jail people for up to 10 years for consuming giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears, pangolins and… Read More ›

Videos of Chinese Orphans, College Sports

I haven’t posted any videos in a long time, mostly because it takes forever to load them with my sluggish Chinese Internet connection. But here are a couple — one from my visit to the Swallow’s Nest orphanage and another from the sports meet at Henan University of Technology.

American Teacher Can’t Find China on a Map

Here is my 2014 nomination for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! I was talking to a 20-something American teacher the other day when she mentioned she had to go to Hong Kong to get her visa extended. She told me she was going by train. “That’s a long trip,” I said. “I think it only… Read More ›

Letter From Crying Student Almost Makes Teacher Cry

One of my students cried in class yesterday. Then she wrote something that almost made me cry. For homework, my freshmen were supposed to write a letter to a school official complaining about a problem such as bad cafeteria food or noisy dorms. Three students didn’t do the assignment, so I told them to write… Read More ›