My name is Chris Healy, I’m class of 2009, and I’m going to be spending the summer in what the Lonely Planet guidebook describes as “the most far-flung corner of the most far-flung province in China”, that is, depending on your political persuasion, either Yushu, Qinghai Province, People’s Republic of China, or Jyekundo, Tibet. Jyekundo/Yushu is a staggering 22 hour bus ride from the nearest large city, the provincial capital of Xining, and sits at an altitude of just under 14,500 feet.
I’ll be spending 8 weeks teaching English to Tibetan children and researching the effects of the language gap between Tibetan speakers and Chinese speakers on the local economy and culture. The literacy rate in Yushu county is a pitifully low 13%, and most people in Jyekundo live far below the poverty line.
I am descending into this summer from a unique vantage point — having spent the last 4 1/2 months in Beijing studying Mandarin Chinese and living with Chinese students, I will hopefully be able to shed some light on the current state of China from both a rural and an urban perspective. I hope you enjoy!