I was thrilled over the last couple of days to receive emails and messages from students at the university. Some are expecting me to return this semester. I did try and explain to everyone that the earliest that I may be back is 2010 - all being well. No guarantees.
I have offered to help the students with their English. One student is already working - on probation for three months. She must work from 7.30 am to 6 pm, for six days a week, and while on probation she will not get paid. The job is 90 minutes from her home, so she is negotiating to live in a dormitory at her work.
It is common in China for employers to provide accomodation for their employees, but the dormitories are quite sparce. This same student told me that her first job, only a couple of weeks ago she stayed in the accomodation provided, but the room she was in was full of other workers, and there were two people to a bed. She resigned.
I heard from another student who will not be returning to college this semester - in part because last year someone stole her laptop. There was no facility to lock up a computer or other valuable equipment - and with 6 students to a dormitory, it is hard to safeguard one's own property.
No wonder the Chinese students are such hard workers. They don't get it easy.