Whitman In China Teaching Program
The Whitman in China program (WIC) was established in 1982 by Professor David Deal to provide Whitman College alumni an opportunity to spend one year in China teaching English at a Chinese university. Over 200 Whitman alumni have participated in the program to date. By living and working in China, program participants witness the rapid modernization of this important nation and experience Chinese culture first hand. At the same time, Whitman in China teachers give Chinese university students the rare opportunity to study English with native speakers.
Whitman in China Steering Committee 2012-13
Charles 'Chas' McKhann, Professor of Anthropology, Chair
Irv Hashimoto, Associate Professor of English
Donghui He, Asst Professor of Foreign Languages & Literatures - Chinese
Susan Holme Brick, Director of Off-Campus Studies
Whitman in China English teaching and intern positions last one academic year beginning in late August and ending by mid-July. Typically WIC teachers are assigned to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in English conversation, writing, American culture, English literature, or business English. The teaching load is 12-16 class hours per week. At Shantou University the English interns are expected to assist with English-language activities, such as a speech contest or English Corner, but do not have a full teaching load.
The compensation, provided by the Chinese university and Whitman College, includes the following:
- Modest monthly salary to cover basic living expenses in China
- University accommodations in China
- Roundtrip international airfare stipend for travel from the U.S. to China
- Travel stipend to help cover miscellaneous expenses such as immunization costs, visa fees and medical exam and hotels in transit
- Medical insurance for China
- Mandatory three-day teacher training prior to departure
- Up to $2,000 tuition reimbursement for required TESL Certification course and optional Chinese language courses in the summer prior to departure
The Whitman in China Program offers positions at three universities in China:
- Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an
- Shantou University in Shantou
- Yunnan University in Kunming
Candidates offered a position will be placed at a university by the Whitman in China Committee.
Each location has a distinct regional flavor. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southwest China, is a city undergoing rapid modernization in a province known for its ethnic diversity and scenery. Shantou is a medium-size port city located on the east coast of Guangdong province near Hong Kong. And Xi'an, located in Shaanxi Province, was the Chinese capital for centuries and boasts many important historical sights such as the Terracotta Warriors.
Conditions in China
The physical environment and infrastructure in China are very different from that of the United States. Some medical and other resources commonly available in the United States may not be available at all in China. Moreover, the conditions in some parts of China, such as air pollution, may exacerbate some medical conditions. If you have a special need such as a physical disability, chronic medical condition or dietary restriction, we suggest you consult with the Off-Campus Studies Office staff early in the planning process so that you will be fully informed of the conditions in China and the resources available to you there.
- All Whitman College alumni are eligible to apply regardless of year of graduation.
- Alumni with degrees in any major including the sciences may apply.
- A minimum of one year of Chinese language study is recommended but not required.
- The Chinese universities prefer candidates who have had some teaching experience (even informal teaching is helpful) and/or coursework in how to teach English. A background in literature or other foreign languages is also beneficial.
- Successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to teaching university-level English, maturity, flexibility, and a willingness to live in conditions that are different from those in the United States.
How to Apply
Submit the following documents by November 8, 2012 to:Laura CummingsCoordinator, Mem. 201
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Telephone - (509) 527-5255
Fax - (509) 526-4770
- Whitman in China Application
- Statement of Purpose (maximum 3 pages)
- Official transcript of your academic work at Whitman. (Request this from the Whitman Registrar using page 5 of the Whitman in China Application.)
- Academic Evaluation - Required for seniors only. (Request this from the Whitman Registrar using page 5 of the Whitman in China Application.)
- Three Letters of Reference - At least one letter must be from a former employer or supervisor and we recommend that at least one letter be from a faculty member at Whitman College.
- One-Page Resume - This should include your education, your employment history, any paid or volunteer teaching experience, and any other information that will help the Whitman in China Committee and the Chinese university officials get to know you better.
- One recent ID photo of yourself.
- Legible copy of the photo page of your passport.
- Copy of your Whitman Diploma. (Current seniors may submit diploma copy in late May.)
Interviews will be held in the middle of December and notification of selection will be made in January.
Successful applicants are required to attend a three-day Whitman in China Teachers' Training to be held in March or April at Whitman College. In addition, all participants will be required to enroll in a TEFL Certification course (either on-line or in person) in the summer prior to departure for China in order to obtain their Chinese work visa.
All files are in the Portable Document Format (PDF). If you have trouble opening them, try Adobe Acrobat Reader.
For further information, please contact:Susan Holme Brick
Off-Campus Studies Office
Reflections from Past Participants
Whitman has something extraordinary going for it. The connections Whitman has with these universities in China makes transitioning into this country as smooth as it could possibly be.
Jeremy Balch '10 (Major: BBMB), Northwestern Polytechnical University, 2010-11
I loved seeing my students every day, both in and out of the classroom. They were generally quite enthusiastic and hard-working, and it was always interesting for me to learn more about the way university students in China perceive the world and their place in it. My favorite unit to teach was a unit on culture, when I had them ask me questions about American culture that they wanted me to answer, and I would get everything from "In Western country, is the marriagement always unstable? Do the couples always get divorce and remarriage quickly?" to "Are American always eat KFC and McDonald? If no, where do they eat most?" It was also fascinating to teach a unit on censorship-- yes, censorship, in China, and learn about their perspective on their country's freedom of speech/press practices, especially when they have such a wide variety of opinions on the matter. Overall, I would say that I learned just as much from my students about contemporary Chinese society and their lives as they learned from me about vocabulary, reading strategies and essay writing.
Lauren Schneider '10 (Majors: French and Spanish), Shantou University, 2010-11
Teaching has changed me for the better. I always knew I’d be able to do my job, but I was quite nervous about leading a class for the first time. This nervousness didn’t disappear all at once, but has been decreasing gradually up until now. I feel like I’m twice as confident a person as I was before starting teaching, and this confidence has
carried over into other relationships of mine. Students at this university have been wonderfully supportive of me. Getting them laughing, engaged in a discussion activity, seeing their improvements in assignments and speaking at the end of the semester, and of course directly receiving their positive feedback are rewards in themselves.
Alec Sugar '08 (Major: Spanish), Northwestern Polytechnical University, 2008-09
I learned so much about the culture and the people in China after spending a year there. I experienced so many unexpected and wonderful moments. Bonding with my students was one of the greatest parts of my time spent there. I still talk with many of them, and it's amazing to think I have friends across the world who still think about me. Xi'an specifically is an amazing city that combines every aspect of China: ancient and modern, rural and urban. It is a big city with many microcosms of activity within it. Most of all from my time spent in China, I learned so much about myself. There are so many things that we take for granted, and being away from everything I was comfortable with really opened my eyes and forced me to see things in a new way.
Kitty Hallin '07 (Major: French), Northwestern Polytechnical University, 2007-08
Teaching at Shantou University gave me a terrific opportunity to work closely with experienced English language teachers from both China and abroad, not to mention an enthusiastic and welcoming student body. Shantou University in particular provides a support network and professional development opportunities. With help from my knowledgeable students, I was also able to explore interests outside of teaching English ad learning Chinese - including the synthesis of European and local architecture in the old quarter of Shantou and tea culture at rural plantations, elegant urban teahouses and local homes.
Elinor Westfold '07 (Majors: Art History and Visual Culture, and Classics), English Intern, Shantou University, 2007-08