Thursday, October 12, 2006

Guangdong University

Wednesday was another very good day in Guangzhou. We started the day meeting with Fang Linling, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office at Guangdong University of Technology. During the meeting we were joined by Jingle Chang, the International Officer for the Foreign Affairs Office. This was very much intended as a simple meet and greets just to learn more about their university and tell them about LSC. I was hoping that they had a strong distance learning program (they didn’t) that we might be able to talk about possible collaborations. It has been very challenging to learn anything in advance about many of these schools, as many of the English-speaking websites are light on info or don’t work at all.

As the meeting progressed we actually started to get excited about a couple of possibilities that just appeared out of nowhere while we were talking. They are anxiously awaiting our proposal for an English language immersion workshop for many of their faculty members. They want to improve the English skills of many of their faculty members and think that time spent in the U.S. would be the best way for them to learn the language rather than an English instructor traveling to Guangzhou. We think that is an excellent idea and where better to learn English than in Minnesota. Yah, you betcha!

There were no plans made for a lunch with the Tech University, but the meeting went so well that they invited to lunch and took us to the only good restaurant on University Island which happens to be where we lunched on the previous day as well. No worries, it's a great place and we just like viewing all the live seafood waiting for slaughter (more on that later). Jingle Chang is a very funny and fun guy. We liked him right away and he must have liked us too. He entertained us during lunch and throughout most of our visit at Guangdong U. Both he and Director Lingling were very gracious hosts.

In the afternoon we visited the GAFA old campus and met world-renowned ceramicist Professor Zhang Hai Wen. He has done some incredible research on replicating some of the amazing ceramics and glazes of the Song dynasty. He is a very gregarious and friendly man, and extremely generous. His work is amazing as is the work of so many of the artists from GAFA. His porcelain tea cups and saucers are absolutely beautiful and unique.

To top off the day, we went to a large outdoor mall shopping market where we spent several hours. Edward took good care of us and we returned to the apartments exhausted and fulfilled. We probably could have used several more hours there, but there just isn't enough time for very much play with all the work that has to be done.

Also, before I forget, let me eat crow (that’s nothing compared to some of the stuff we’ve had this week) for complaining about the crappy Internet connection here in China. It turns out that it was my crappy Ethernet cable that was the problem. I became suspicious when everyone around me had fast connections. Gulp.

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