"Appalachians Abroad" Provides Teachers to China,
by Clark Egnor


West Virginia has its very own Peace Corps, and it's based at Marshall University in Huntington/Charleston. The program which is housed in Marshall University's Center for International Programs, is called Appalachians Abroad. The program seeks to build educational and business relationships between the Appalachian region and countries with rapidly expanding economies. One of the primary functions of Appalachians Abroad is to train and send people from the Appalachian area to teach English as a foreign language in China.

Twenty-five people from 15 states attended an intensive one-week TEFL training session last May at Marshall and departed to mainland China in August to begin a one-year teaching assignment in one of six cities: Changsha, Shanghai, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Hengyang and Guangzhou. Since May 1995, the Appalachians Abroad program has arranged placement and training for over 50 people from Appalachia and all over the United States in elementary, secondary and higher education EFL teaching positions in the People's Republic of China.

Most of the participants teach 12 to 15 hours per week and receive accommodations, monthly salary, round-trip airfare, travel stipend, one or two months' paid vacation, and free medical care. The 25 participants who participated in the 1998 program were selected from over 300 applications. The applicants had to have at least a baccalaureate degree, teaching experience, native-fluency in English, an excellent command of written and spoken English and cross-cultural sensitivity.

All participants attend a one-week pre-departure training program at Marshall University. The training program prepares individuals with English as a foreign language teaching skills and a basic orientation to Chinese culture and language for living and teaching English in the People Republic of China. "The training is not intended to be substitute for an MA in TESOL," says Clark Egnor, Assistant Director of the Center for International Programs. "Most of the participants have prior teaching experience and their role as teachers in China is to develop communicative competence in English with a primary emphasis on oral skills."

The internet has played a larger role in popularizing the program in Appalachia and all over the United States. The website at www.marshall.edu/gochina/ receives thousands of hits per weeks. In fact, 90% of the 25 participants going to China first learned about the program from the website. Email and the internet are also used to deliver training and information to the participants during their stay in China. All of the participants participate in daily on-line exchanges on an email listserv and several on-line courses are now being developed at Marshall University to further their training in teaching English as a foreign language.

Marshall University's Appalachians Abroad is currently accepting application for China teaching positions to begin August 1999 and February 2000. The total program cost is $650 and includes the placement fee and the tuition for the one-week training program in May. Applicants must use the website at www.marshall.edu/gochina/ to apply on-line. Contact Appalachians Abroad Teach in China Coordinators, Clark Egnor or QingQing Zhao for more information about the program at gochina@marshall.edu or 304-696-6265.

Clark Egnor

Marshall University


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WVTESOL Newsletter Editor: Linda Yoder

Salem-Teikyo University


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