Darlag, Qinghai Province, China

It has been almost two weeks that I have been here in Darlag, Qinghai Province, China. I have been teaching English to 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. It has been difficult to communicate with them because they do not know English, and I, myself, do not know their dialect which is Amdo. There are three Tibetan dialects: Amdo, Khams, and Utsang. I have slowly been learning Amdo from almost everyone in the organization. The management team and the students have been great to me. I have received great hospitality while being here. The students are so courteous that they leave me speechless. Tibetan students are very hard-working. I thought I was a hard-worker, but these kids actually demonstrated to me what true hard-workers really are like. The students clean the classrooms, wash their own clothes and shoes by hand, they do outdoor cleaning, and they assist adults in anything that is asked of them. These are only a few of the things that these students do on a daily basis. I was startled and impressed when I began to see what these kids from ages 5-17 years old do on a regular basis. Although China owns Tibet, Tibet is nothing like the cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Tibet is very mountainous with high altitudes over 4000 meters. The first few days when I did arrive to Tibet, I did feel a short discomfort of breathlessness. I am grateful that I have not been extremely affected by the high altitude. According to the director of the host organization, I acclimatized very well while being here. I was told that past volunteers could not handle the high altitude and climate. Currently, I am the only volunteer and American. One of the teachers here at the school speaks a small amount of English, and she is the main person I converse with on a day to day basis. Some of the older students as well speak some English, and I became close to those students. I am glad that some of the people here speak some English because when I first arrived I barely communicated with anyone. I was surrounded with Tibetans that spoke Amdo and completely no English. Then as I began to meet more people in the organization, I was introduced to some people who did speak a little English. You have no idea how disconnected I felt when I first arrived to the organization because of the language barrier. Overtime I overcame that discomfort, and began to learn their dialect. Wow, I can keep telling you all so much more about my experience here, but I know you all have things to do. By the way, I will soon post pictures for you all.

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