Posted by: viaprograms | July 15, 2010

Meet the New China Program Director

Patrick Arnold joined VIA in early July as the new China Program Director. We asked him three questions for our blog. (His professional credentials can be found on our staff website here.)

Patrick in Xintian Town, Hunan Province, China (November 2006)

1) How tall are you? How was it being so tall while working in China?

I’m 6′ 5″ 0r 195 cm.  My height inspired an endless series of questions in China.  One of the first phrases I learned how to say in Chinese was how to explain how tall I was.  This was usually followed by, “no, I don’t know Yao Ming,” the very tall Chinese NBA player.  I was invited to play basketball on a regular basis with the teachers from the school where I taught.  This allowed me to connect with the teachers who didn’t speak English.  After our games we’d all go out to dinner.  The language barriers melted away after a few rounds of bei ju.

2) In the summer we have students from Asia coming to the Bay Area on ALC and AUSL programs. Is there a place you’d recommend them visiting in San Francisco?

I’ve lived in San Francisco for just under three years and still feel like there are many corners to explore.  Every neighborhood has its hidden gems.  Dolores Park in the Mission on a sunny day with a group of friends–new or old–can’t be beat.

3)Any words of wisdom for the outgoing Asia Programs volunteers?

Try everything possible.  It’s much better to look back with a laugh at the situations that ended up less successful than intended than to wish it were possible to go back and take advantage of a unique opportunity.  I’d also remind volunteers that the most difficult situations often make the best stories.  Challenges also tend to enhance personal growth and cultural understanding.
Welcome Patrick. Have more questions for Patrick? Post a question or comment!

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