Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ashland microbiology professor teaches this summer in Taiwan

Paul Hyman, Associate Professor of Biology, is spending five weeks this summer teaching in Taiwan as part of the ONPS Summer School, an independent Chinese education program. ONPS provides Chinese students studying at American universities during Fall and Spring with summer school classes while they are home. He is teaching an Introductory Biology course (in English) in Taipei, Taiwan to students from schools ranging from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to the University of San Francisco. There is a student from the Ohio State University and even one high school student from Taipei.

His adventures began even before arriving as a class five typhoon caused his first flight to be cancelled and the rescheduled flight diverted to Okinawa, Japan for a day. But since arriving in Taipei he has completed his first week teaching and exploring the city. He writes “Taipei is a fascinating mix of familiar city sights and a totally different approach to life. Because food is plentiful and inexpensive, many people prefer to eat out for most or all meals. Supporting this are a vast number of small restaurants, food stalls and night markets – streets blocked off each day to set up food and store booths that are then taken down at the end of the day. One of the teaching assistants tells me that some apartments do not even have kitchens.“

“People are friendly and very forgiving of someone who can barely manage a poorly pronounced “hello” and “thank you” in Chinese. Some people speak English, at least a few more words than I speak Chinese. We manage to get by pointing to pictures, gestures and smiles. And numbers are universal. The streets are as full of scooters as of cars. Perhaps because of the many scooters, I haven’t seen many bicycles although there are usually a couple each day. Besides the many food shops are small hardware stores, mini-marts, beauty salons, mechanics (especially for the scooters), all along the same street in no particular order. Many of them appear to be family businesses. “

Dr. Hyman will be teaching through the second week of August and then it is back to Ohio with just a few weeks before classes start at AU. Just enough time to readjust to a 12 hour time change.

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