Peace Corps Experience
- Cornell University
- Philosophy and Religious Studies
As a Peace Corps volunteer, I was stationed in Guiyang, the capital city of China's poorest province. Before leaving, I spoke not a word of Chinese, but after two years and lots of help from the amazing Peace Corps teachers, I was close to fluent. I taught ESL and American Literature at Guizhou University, and helped organize a learning center for children in a nearby village. I also ended up on the university basketball team and—at six feet tall and 165 pounds—earned the campus-wide nickname "Shaq." Since returning home, I've been teaching a bit of Chinese, and I've led tours for American high school students interested in traveling around China. I'm sure this is but the beginning of a life-long connection to China in general, and Guiyang in particular. I have a memoir about the experience, Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion (Henry Holt 2011).