Of Clothes and Exams: Winding Down the School Year

 

Student Designers Hit the Runway

 

          Sunday night was a show to remember and brought out the crowds to our stage area.  What was the big fuss?  It was Fashion Week at Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities!

         Actually, it was more like fashion night.

         For over 2 months, I’ve been watching small groups gathering during the siesta hour, standing in the shade of buildings while strutting their stuff.  Female students  in high heeled shoes practiced their walks while guys struck masculine poses at the end of imaginary runways.  The big event they were practicing for arrived this evening. 

         Students from the design department were about to show off their yearly creations in the annual school fashion show.  Plenty of stage rehearsals followed for 3 days so everyone would know their stage marks, their maneuvers and funky poses to wow the audience. 

         For myself, it was a lot of fun seeing what magnificent clothes the students had come up with.  My favorites, as seen in the photos, were the environmental clothes — those made from sanitation items often discarded (tin foil, toilet paper, garbage bags, plastics, paper and such). Very innovative and quite impressive for a 3-year college.

         (Enjoy the photos!)

 

 Yearly Physical Exams Now Required

 

            Each year, China’s provincial governments require their foreign language teachers to have a physical exam in order to renew their work visas.  It used to be a physical was only required when we first came to China.  These were done in our home countries with necessary Chinese forms filled out by our local doctors.

            After that initial health document was completed, schools were able not only to get the required work visa for their teachers but also renew those visas every year.  Another physical exam wasn’t required, which I always thought was rather odd because you never know what unhealthy bugs we might pick up during our year (or years) in China.

             Three years ago, the Chinese government seemed to be in agreement with me.

            New regulations now require foreign teachers to have yearly examinations from accredited provincial Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine clinics. These clinics are usually set up in the provincial capital cities meaning travel is necessary for those of us who aren’t in those places.

            Mostly, these new edicts were to make sure we didn’t have any communicable diseases, such as AIDS, STD’s or TB.  Another reason for the yearly exams was for insurance purposes. Both domestic and international insurance benefits require a background check of some sort, just the same as in the States.  If schools need to insure their foreign teachers, yearly physicals are important.

             This was especially important for Chinese who are to work overseas, either as white-collar workers in the fields of education and business or blue-collar workers such as day-laborers to Hong Kong and Vietnam or riverboat and international sea sailors.  These individuals are also required to take the exam as well. 

           Many of the blue-collar workers, in from the countryside, haven’t even been inoculated for basic diseases. Polio, TB, hepititis, mumps and measles, and rubella immunizations, for example, often have not been administered to those from the poorer areas of China.  The center makes sure they have these as adults before they are issued permit visas to work outside of the country.

 

Connie Gets Her Yearly Check-up

 

            During the last 2 years, I’ve had my physicals done in Chengdu at their clinic. 

            It was a very professional set-up.  We had a check-in station, our information was typed into the computer along with our photograph, we paid a fee of 300 yuan ($45) and then off we went to different stations for our health check-up.  We had blood work, eyes and ears, EKG, chest X-ray, sonogram and a general health once-over.  All the rooms were numbered and we just went from one to another, finishing the entire process in about 30 minutes. 

            After 3 working days, we returned to pick up our results, which included a print-out of the tests and stamped certificate that we had passed.

            A week ago, I traveled to Nanning to have my annual physical done for this province.  I found the inspection center just as efficient, professional and fast as the one in Chengdu. 

            This past Friday, I returned to Nanning to pick up my certificate, which came in the form of a small passport-sized booklet that can easily be carried around on trips. That was a nice surprise from the flimsy paper I’ve received before.  China definitely has improved their method of health documentation from 3 years ago.  Very classy!

 

            In another entry, I’ll enjoy telling you about my visit in Nanning but as I have a few lessons to attend to, I’ll save that for another day.

 

            Ping An from Longzhou!

 

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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