Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The dean of the Software College called me into his office today and informed me that he is building a new University in Guizhou Province. I have been here at Beihang University for almost six years, now, and I have grown to really like the students, and the office personnel are pretty good people to work with. But Beihang University has a rule. They will not give a Foreign Expert Certificate to foreign professors over 55. The Software College could continue to hire me, but they do not have the authority to give me a visa. Bottom line: I need to go somewhere else. According to the dean, the new university in Guizhou is going to be built with non-profit funds. Not sure exactly who is behind it, but it does seem like a good project. The problem is that this time, I wouldn't just be going down there for a few weeks. This would involve moving lock, stock and barrel to the Southwest. Not sure if I'm ready to do that. But I told him I would give it some thought.

As a matter of fact, I had originally planned to go to Western China when I first moved here almost six years ago. I ended up moving to Beijing instead, because I got an offer from the software college, of which there are none in that part of China. But now, you know, I have gotten used to living in Beijing. Beijing is a very convenient place for a single person. It's hard to describe the phenomenon to someone who doesn't live here, because if you read much of the literature aimed at foreigners, they will talk about the cost for foreign business people who are trying to live an American lifestyle here in Beijing. That, of course, is expensive. But if you are single and a bit flexible, you can get by for a lot less. When you position yourself in the middle of a developing country that also happens to have a booming economy, you get the benefit of exponential job growth and prosperity along with the lower costs for stuff you buy or even for a place to stay, as long as you are willing to live in a local Chinese neighborhood.

But as the economy grows and the boom develops, the insidious inflation that always comes with it slowly stretches its tentacles into every area of life, and the economy eventually becomes more rigid, like Japan or America. Beijing is still in that development stage, with a fairly flexible economy, especially in the university district. In Western China, you do have the benefit of the lower cost, pre-development lifestyle, but without the advantages that come with living in a large, international city.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?