《异乡人》“Strangers”: A Visual Ethnography about Expat Teachers in China during Covid-19 Pandemic

April 4, 2021   /  

Name: Xinyu Martina Pei
Majors: Communication Studies, East Asian Studies
Minor: Global Media and Digital Studies
Advisors: Dr. Ahmet Atay, Dr. Ziying You

This research aims to fairly and truly demonstrate expat teachers’ experience in China during the Covid-19 global pandemic. More specifically, this project studies factors such as the Covid-19 crises that influence how expat teachers adapt to and interact with Chinese culture. The researcher filmed the collected stories from foreign teachers into a documentary. The documentary seeks to acknowledge that how expat teachers’ life experiences during the Covid-19 global pandemic reflect the global crisis that all humans are facing.T

his study utilizes online interviews and online observation. The online interviews are aimed at three expat teachers who work at the educational institution. Alongside these interviews, I conduct online observation to investigate foreign teachers online posts. In order to protect participants confidential information, interviews and observation are not be video-taped. The transcript of the interviews is used as a sources for the narrative of the documentary. Participants are not going to be in the documentary, actors and voice actors will replace the role of participants in the film.

xpei-symposium-poster

Xinyu will be online to field comments on April 16:
8-10am EDT (Asia: evening, Africa/Europe: afternoon)

25 thoughts on “《异乡人》“Strangers”: A Visual Ethnography about Expat Teachers in China during Covid-19 Pandemic”

  1. Martina, I really enjoyed your film and plan to send it to someone I know who was in China teaching but came home and now is having trouble getting back, as I think she will find it interesting. What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to do more digital work? I still remember the meme you created for our Rhetorical Criticism homework last spring, as it showed me how creative you are.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dr. Bostdorff! I am glad that you like the film and I hope your friend will like the film as well. I am planning to attend graduate school in the fall. I actually just made the decision to accept the offer from the University of Southern California, majoring in Communication Management with media & entertainment managment focus. I will keep creating digital works like short films and photos in the future and in the summer, I will start a selfie project called “LOOK.”

      1. That is terrific. Be sure to let me know in the future how to view your work! You’re going to do great in that program.

  2. Wow, very intriguing and creative! Congratulations, and I hope we will see more of your work in the future!

  3. Congratulations, Xinyu, for making this important and timely documentary! I will use your video in my classes in the future! Keep up your great work and keep shining!!

  4. This is a beautifully produced project! I love the way you threaded multiple viewpoints together, very seamless. You managed to personalize the film and create personal connection, while still protecting the identities of the participants, which seems like it would not be an easy task. What was the most challenging aspect of your project? Is there anything you would’ve done differently if you’d had access to different tools or resources? Congratulations!

    1. Thank You~ I would say the most challenging aspect of the project is the recruitment of participants and filming the project. When I explained the project to my potential participants, a lot of them actually rejected my offer because of confidentiality. To reduce their concerns, I came up with the idea of only collecting their stories and ask actors and voice actors to present their stories through a documentary. Also, when I was shooting the film, the weather did not help at all. Most of the early spring days in my hometown are rainy and dark, so I have to catch a few sunny days to shoot my day scenes. Preparing for those unexpected incidences was definitely a challenge for me. If I ever do it again, I would do everything earlier so that I could have enough time to react to those unexpected incidences.

  5. This is an impressive project. I enjoyed watching the video and hearing the thoughts of how COVID was impacting the lives of your subjects.

    1. Thank You~ I hope you have more understanding of foreign teachers, especially this time in China after watching this film.

    1. Thank you Megan! I miss working with you~ and I really appreciate that you like this project!

  6. Hello Xinyu! I’m Denise’s friend, Miriam. I really enjoyed watching your film. Seeing the streets and parks of China made me quite nostalgic, and you captured everything so well. This was very similar to my situation, although I left China at the end of Jan. 2020, and have been teaching online all year. I hope to return to Shanghai soon!

    Thank you for making such a beautiful, thoughtful, interesting video! 真的让我很感动!

  7. This is such a great film, and I love how it present different perspectives in a narrative tone. I love the stories! lots of congratulation for you and best luck for your future!

  8. Hello and congratulations, Xinyu! What a great project — so many good things to say about it. Thank you for doing this work, and thank you for sharing it here. (And congratulations on your next steps into graduate school!) 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Dr.Graham! I am glad that you like it~

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