Ningde – once more!

Before I came to Ningde to teach English as a Foreign Expert together with my wife, I did not know that this wonderful place even existed. We had no say concerning our placement, but were sent here by the Nanjing-based Chinese organisation Amity Foundation. The person who received two very nervous newcomers in September 2001 and introduced them to Ningde and its Teachers’ College, was Mr Gong, then as now the inspiring Dean of the Foreign Languages Department.


It goes without saying that we had some problems initially to adjust to a new and unfamiliar environment, but thanks to Mr Gong and many friendly and understanding colleagues and students, we could smoothly overcome cultural and linguistic hurdles. We loved the place so much so, that we stayed for three years, and when in July 2004 we had to go back to Sweden for family reasons, we both felt very sad indeed.

In 2006 we were back in China, working again as Foreign Experts, four years in Gansu and two years in Inner Mongolia. During those years we had the opportunity to travel extensively within China, but we could not resist to visit Ningde almost every year. China is an enormous and utterly interesting country offering a lot of exciting sites everywhere, so what is it that makes, of all places, Ningde so attractive to me? I have been asked that question many times. The answer is: relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, the most beautiful mountains, the influence of the sea, and above all, good and generous friends.

Once more I have had the great privilege to visit Ningde and its Normal University. Two and a half months (March 16 to May 29) have really just been flying away. Once more I have enjoyed meeting colleagues, students and friends. I am sure all of you are trying to do your best and I wish you good luck. Many thanks to everyone and especially to the leaders of the University who invited me and above all to Mr Gong, who made it all possible once more.


Per-Martin Hjort