Everyone needs adventure in life. Dr. Karla Thompson believes this big time. She is excited to be on her way to Xi’an Jiaotong University where she will teach for one year.
Thompson is the principal of and will be on sabbatical this school year 2012-13 while teaching in China. Xi’an Jiaotong University is a very prestigious school. In China, its reputation is comparable to Harvard University in our country.
Thompson is sponsored by Brigham Young University (BYU) under the David M. Kennedy for International Studies, BYU China Teachers Program. Approximately 80 qualified members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sent to teach at Chinese universities each year (absolutely no proselytizing). Surprisingly, it was a BYU performing group that opened the door for this program in 1989.
What will Thompson be teaching? In English, she will teach literature, advanced writing, and current events published in the Chinese Daily newspaper.
Between semesters, Thompson plans to travel around China with Ann and Paul Wilson who also reside in Plymouth (Paul co-founded the Happenings Book, familiar to many Minnesotans, in 1972). The Wilsons are going to China under the same BYU program but are assigned to a different university in Xi’an.
Thompson wants to “absorb everything like a sponge—the culture, language, art, and history.” With our community and schools increasingly diverse, a year in China will “give me greater cultural competencies. I am going as a learner, not as a tourist.”
And, there is a lot to absorb. Xi’an is among the oldest cities in China with a history dating back 3,100 years. It was one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Today, it conjures up images of the Terracotta Army (approximately 8,000 clay warriors, chariots, and horses under excavation at Xi'an mausoleum). On a day-to-day level, Xi’an is famous for its noodles and lamb cuisine.
Thompson has set up a blog where she will share her experiences with Plymouth Creek Elementary School students over the coming school year, http://pcechina.blogspot.com/.
Thompson reports to BYU on July 30 for a 10-day orientation. From there, she flies straight to Xi’an giving her a few days to get settled before school starts the end of August. Xi’an Jiaotong University will provide Thompson with a private, two-bedroom furnished apartment and a living allowance while she is there.
This is not Thompson’s first trip to Asia. As a young woman and new convert to the Church, she served an 18-month mission in Nagoya, Japan between 1976-77. She has loved the Asian cultures ever since.
(Information provided by a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints press release.)