First Stages of Life

James Morgante – AITECE Teacher in China
December 4, 2012

Upcoming Dates:
December 11 – Monthly Columban Advocacy Call – email for more information
December 18 – International Migrants Day
December 10 – International Human Rights Day
January 6-12 – USCCB’s Annual National Migration Week –

The CCAO extends our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones during this Advent season as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Prince of Peace.

First Stages of Life

I am now into my fifth year of teaching English in China, in the same city in southern China but at a different school. Some things have changed but some things remain the same.

James Morgante

My environment has certainly changed. Previously I lived in a gated college at the outskirts of the city at the foot of the local northern mountain range (there’s one to the south also). Now I live in a much smaller, gated college downtown in the middle of the “old” district. Outside is a narrow street lined with shops on both sides with two-way bus, vehicle, and motorcycle traffic full of pedestrians (and virtually no sidewalks). It’s a marvel to see everyone negotiating this narrow thoroughfare, especially when the local middle and primary schools get out and the street additionally fills with children and parents picking them up. Life goes on, albeit more slowly and with more than usual honking.

My classes have also changed but the students remain much the same. Previously I taught English majors but now my students are nursing students with an additional concentration in English. Some are outgoing and utilize every available opportunity to speak with you; some are shy and have to be coaxed to speak at all. Some are good students and some not so good. Some come from relatively well-off city families but most come from the countryside where their parents are farmers. All of them are eager for more information about foreign cultures beyond the English lessons and would love to visit or even live in America if they could just get the chance. All of them are in the first stages of life’s journey into the unknown, and here in a Chinese classroom our paths have crossed.

If you are interested in teaching in China, please contact the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach at