At BASIS International & Bilingual Schools, the summer break is a chance for teachers to explore, reconnect, and recharge. This year saw our teachers embarking on global adventures, with many returning to their home countries after several years away. Whether traveling by train through the United States, soaking up the sun on the beaches of Bali, delving into China’s ancient history, or visiting university friends in the UK, the teachers’ experiences were as varied as they are. Let’s look at how some of our teachers spent their summer.

Visited Home Country

Kimmy Singh, Physics Teacher, Chair of MS/HS Science
BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour 

During the recent summer break, I made a long-awaited trip back to India after four years due to COVID-related travel restrictions. This summer was also my baby boy’s first visit to his grandparents. Our itinerary included visiting Mumbai, where we spent a few weeks at our apartment and enjoyed the monsoon rains. From there, we traveled north to Uttar Pradesh to stay with my husband’s parents, enjoying the natural surroundings and visiting local farms. Of course, the best part of being home was savoring the delicious Indian cuisine, donning traditional Indian clothing, cruising in auto rickshaws, and reconnecting with loved ones. After returning to China, we traveled to Chengdu for the BASIS Summer Institute, where we explored the hotpot park and the Panda base and even led a session for new BASIS teachers.


Shane Van Devender, Biology Teacher, Chair of MS/HS Science
BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen

I haven’t been home to the USA since 2018. I’ve missed my family, my friends, and the quiet, verdant environment of Oregon. I enjoyed the things from home that I took for granted: the forests, the beaches, the vineyards, and the mountains.


Sarah Mueller, Math and Science Teacher
BASIS International School Guangzhou

This summer was filled with exciting and memorable moments. Here are a few of the highlights.

My partner, Pulkit, who also works at BASIS International School Guangzhou, and I traveled to Dallas to visit my brother and watch an Astros vs. Rangers baseball game.

While in San Francisco for a wedding, we took some time sightseeing. It was our first time seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.

In San Francisco, we met up with a former BASIS Guangzhou teacher, Maggie Settle, and her current partner for dinner.

We took a trip out to Alcatraz. First time for this as well!

After leaving San Francisco, Pulkit and I took a road trip up the Pacific coast and saw redwoods for the first time. We saw a tree named Big Tree, towering at almost 300 feet tall!

Back in Texas, I met fellow BASIS Guangzhou teacher Ashley Barnes. She was in the process of moving her sister down to Houston. I treated her to cajun food, including fried crawfish and crawfish etouffee. Sadly, she is moving to BASIS International & Bilingual School Wuhan this year.

I took a road trip to Wyoming from Texas, driving through Roswell, New Mexico, where everything is alien-themed!

One of the last weekends in Texas, I did a 45-mile bike ride with my dad and brother in the scorching heat of over 100 degrees!

Henry Burch, Chemistry Teacher, Chair of MS/HS Science
BASIS International School Nanjing

This summer was my first time home in four years, so I mostly had a fantastic time reconnecting with friends and family. I went on a cruise to Norway with my parents, visited my Alma Mater with my old uni friends, met up with fellow BINJ teacher Richard Sims in the UK, and much more!

Sam Martin, P.E. Teacher
Joshua Martin,
Athletic Director and History Teacher
BASIS International & Bilingual School Chengdu

The Martin family brought some of China back to America this summer. We attended a family wedding in Chinese attire. It was lots of fun sharing about our lives in China with friends and family. We then road-tripped with family down to Orlando and spent time at Disney World. We all very much enjoyed our time at the Happiest Place on Earth. We got to spend more time with extended family while in Orlando, and our son absolutely loved it! The last part of our summer in the States was spent in Mississippi. There we soaked in family time, exploring museums and many US Civil War areas. Our summer then took us over to Tokyo. A strategic stop to help get over jet lag was helpful. It was even better spent at Tokyo Disneyland. We made it back home to Chengdu and are excited to be back for another amazing year as a part of Team Panda.

Tim Willcutts, AP English Teacher
BASIS International School Shenzhen

This summer, I rode Amtrak trains across the United States, beginning on the east coast in Massachusetts and ending out west in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping along the way in Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon. After four years of living in China without a single visit home, the trains put me back in touch with America’s wide range of landscapes, waterways, and cultural milieus.  I am heartened to return to China with a more intimate appreciation of where I grew up.

Perla Hinojosa, Art Teacher
BASIS International School Shenzhen

After three long years, the pandemic-induced separation finally came to an end, and I found myself back in the vibrant city of Mexico. As a teacher, my summer holiday was an extraordinary adventure filled with cherished moments, exploring the wonders of my beloved hometown. Reuniting with my friends and family was undoubtedly the highlight of my vacation. During my stay, I embarked on a journey to rediscover the city’s iconic landmarks and monuments, including the Angel of Independence on El Paseo de La Reforma and Los Pinos, the former presidential residence. As an art enthusiast, I made it a point to immerse myself in the city’s vibrant art scene, visiting Frida Kahlo’s house and “The Milky Way” exhibition. On my way back to China, I made a brief stopover in San Francisco, where I immersed myself in the vibrant atmosphere of Fisherman’s Wharf and visited the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. As I prepare to return to Shenzhen and embark on a new academic year, my heart is filled with anticipation. I eagerly look forward to exploring our new campus and engaging my art students in exciting and creative projects. The memories and experiences from my summer holiday will undoubtedly enrich my teaching, allowing me to bring a renewed sense of enthusiasm and inspiration to the classroom.

Asia Adventures

Margaret Siglock, Reading/Humanities Teacher
BASIS International & Bilingual School Chengdu

Last year was my first year at BASIS Chengdu and the first time for my husband, James, and I to live in China.  We have a long bucket list of places and history that we want to explore and have only done a fraction of it. We decided to stay in Asia this summer and begin checking off that list! The place at the top of my list was Xi’an to see the Terracotta Army. While there, we visited the Muslim street to eat delicious food. Our next stop on our tour of Asia was Bali, Indonesia. The beaches in Bali are a perfect way to unwind and recharge for the next school year. To transit from China to Bali, we chose Bangkok as our destination since we had never visited there.  Bangkok was a complete 180 from Bali. My husband and I both felt that the best way to describe it is that “Bangkok is a vibe!” Our final stop before returning to Chengdu was Guangzhou to visit with some friends. Though we only saw a fraction of the city, it is so green and beautiful. (Did I mention hot?) It was the perfect way to end the first of many tours of Asia!

Experienced New Countries

Jennifer Gunter, Vice Head of High School
BASIS International & Bilingual School Chengdu

This summer, I went on a 17-day tour of Central America, visiting must-see sites across five different countries. The experience was awesome! I traveled with Intrepid, an Australian travel company specializing in socially conscious tourism. In addition to the tour, I spent quality time with family and friends and saw the musical ‘Hamilton’ in Toronto.



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