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The Speed of Rail Construction is Unheard of Back Home | Remarkable China


Chongqing - Dr. Frank Stoner is an associate professor at Southwest University in the Beibei District of Chongqing. Nearly five years after living in the city, he often teaches international Ph.D. and master's students in the Department of Curriculum Instruction, focusing on the key STEAM courses of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

STEAM has long been a feature of school curricula back home in the United States. Yet, since Chinese schools first began experimenting with this course in 2017, Frank has been impressed by the enthusiastic reaction among young students, teachers, and parents. In his classroom, the shelves were neatly packed with boxes containing hands-on study resources, thought-provoking strategy games, and even a colorful popular science book series he has authored for children.

Beibei is a northern district in the Chongqing Urban Area, nestled beneath Jinyun Mountain, with the Jialing River flowing gracefully along the eastern city flank. Although the community is not quite as built up as the downtown area, Frank has a strong appreciation for the natural surroundings and wildlife on his doorstep.

"This has been a great place to live and work. My campus is very green, and there are lovely places to stroll with many trees, plants, and flowers, as well as plenty of wildlife like birds, small animals, and fisheries." Frank commented that the people are also very welcoming and eager to help.

Southwest University has around 50,000 students enrolled, and the lush campus marked with tree-lined roads occupies over 1,300 acres of land. Despite being more than 40 kilometers north of downtown Jiefangbei, modern infrastructure allows Frank to travel conveniently across the city whenever needed. The speed of new developments has left Frank deeply impressed.

"It's easy to hop on the subway or take a cab downtown any time from Beibei, which is a little more rural and outside the city center. The speed at which new rail projects are built here is unheard of back in the USA. They are finished one year, and another rail line is completed the next. I love that aspect."

Initially, Frank had plans to experience life in other parts of China and Asia, but the pandemic brought an unexpected yet welcome extension to his stay in Chongqing. Nevertheless, everyday life and work have become very settled in Beibei District, and the prospect of staying for the long term retains a strong appeal.

"Regarding long-term plans, I could stay in Chongqing indefinitely. My work and living environment is surrounded by nature, which suits me well."

(Chen Lu contributed to the report as a trainee)


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