85-year-old US professor travels across the Pacific to spread goodwill
Source: China Daily


Connell loves to sit in his courtyard and enjoy the sunshine in his spare time as he has mobility issues. [Photo by Wei Liang/China News Agency]

Age cannot dampen English teacher's spirit.

Every weekend, Richard Connell gives free English classes in his home - a secluded courtyard he has rented in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. The 85-year-old American retired professor came alone to Taiyuan two years ago, teaching English to students at different ages.

"I love China and Chinese culture," he says. "I like to teach young people here to learn English," Connell adds that he will continue to offer free lessons to Chinese children as long as he can.

Born in 1933 in Toronto, Canada, Connell was sent to an orphanage in Illinois, United States, at the age of 6. He said he learned there how to help others and carried this trait with him ever since.


Richard Connell, an 85-year-old American professor, gives free English lessons to Chinese children in his rental in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. [Photo by Wei Liang/China News Agency]

During his 40 years of teaching at University of Florida, Connell has been to more than 90 countries including China, for academic exchanges. He has traveled to many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an, just to name a few.

These experiences made his longing for China even greater and left him with a strong interest in the ancient civilization. Since retiring in 2003, he mulled over the idea of moving to China for some time, then finally moved to Taiyuan from Orlando in August, 2016.

"China is open and inclusive; I quite enjoy my life here," he says.

Connell has been giving two free English classes per week since November 2017, so as to help more Chinese children learn English.


Every weekend, children of various ages come to Connell's to learn English. [Photo by Wei Liang/China News Agency]


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