Greetings from Nanjing!
Today we are heading to Nanjing Normal Special Education University. The campus is very green and beautiful! Our interpreter Lucy helped make introductions between our faculty at GWU and the Dean and Secretary of the Special Education college. This college is the one of the only schools in all of China with a bachelors in rehabilitation and special education where students receive training in PT, OT, and speech. Similarly to the US, the first two years at the university will have more generalized classes and then students begin to specialize during the third and fourth year. By the third year the student may choose to specialize in speech related courses and in the fourth year there will be an internship out in the field for 10 months. Similar set up to our program at GWU with our Clinical Fellowship Year!
Next, the president of the student association for speech at the university presented about the organization. This association convenes to advocate for the students in the Chinese speech community by working to popularize speech therapy and improve quality of care for patients. Students juggle a full course load while actively voluntary or interning at various speech and hearing centers in the community. Some students may move onto the graduate level in speech which would ensure a higher salary and these students may be more involved in research.
Similarly to the US, the job opportunity in the hospital setting for the speech therapists in China is a very in-demand field. In fact just from this university alone nearly 90% of teachers in China working with Autistic children graduate from this school. It was a great experience to round out the timeline and career for speech therapists in China!
After a morning of presentations and touring the campus, we gathered in the school’s cafeteria to have lunch with some of the students. While chatting with them, we learned about life as a college student in China. Differences between the college experience in the U.S. and China became apparent throughout the presentations in the morning, particularly with regards to how people choose their majors and the programs of study in general. However, when chatting with the students, we discovered many similarities as well, especially with regards to student/campus life such dormitory living and student participation in clubs, associations, and sports.
After fully digesting our Chinese college campus experience, we piled back into the bus and headed to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Located on the side of the Zhongshan Mountain (aka “purple mountain” as its peak is said to be enveloped in purple or golden clouds at dawn and dusk), the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is the burial place of the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, Sun Yat-sen. Also known as “the father of modern China,” he played an influential role in ending the rule of the final dynasty in China, the Qing (or Manchu) Dynasty. A pioneer of modern governance, Sun Yat-sen served as the first provisional president of the Republic of China from 1911-1912 and later as the de facto ruler from 1923 until his death in 1925.
Climbing up and down the 300+ steps of the memorial had all of us working up an appetite, so we headed off to dinner back at the hotel before exploring the Confucius Temple later in the evening. Lined with touristy shops, the Confucius Temple area was one of our last chances to purchase some tchotchkes for our friends and families before heading back home- an enjoyable way to wrap up our time in Nanjing!