Hi Michael! How's it going? I just wanted to ask you what it's like teaching in China? I've heard so many different stories, some great, some disastrous. What's your story been like? Lena
Traveling abroad to teach in China was my first time out of the United States. I sorta imagined I’d be teaching in a hut and that it’d really suck. I thought coming to China would be an adventure and that teaching in a hut would just be a sucky part of that story.
Luckily, there’s no hut in my story.
I’ve been teaching in China for 9 months and I’ve really enjoyed my time. The boarding school I work at is fantastic. My living accommodations and salary are respectable. The work is challenging and fulfilling.
The city I live in, Zibo, has a population of around 4 million souls. This is considered small compared to other metropolitan areas in China. Still though 4 million ain’t small, but despite that there aren’t a bunch of skyscrapers, concerts, amusement parks. Which is okay because the people make the place great. In my time here I’ve only had three occurrences of people being jerks (and let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and just say I deserved it).
In speaking to the other expats teaching or studying in Zibo I know not everyone’s experience in China is awesome. Granted, we all have bad days, but I think a lot of what you get has to do with what you put into it. There are certain societal things that just are what they are. From how Chinese people view education to driving manual transmissions there’s bound to be something that gets under your skin while living in China.
Because I came to China so last minute I didn’t study any Chinese or learn about this or that. Everything I’ve learned as been in the moment as it was needed. Aside from my expectation of teaching in a hut, I really haven’t had any and that’s helped me most.
It’s been a humbling experience. One I’m entirely grateful for being asked to be apart of. I’m glad I’m here. Two thumbs up. The Chinese people I’ve met have taken me in as one of their own. They’ve treated me like family and been the support network I needed in a new part of the world. The expat community as done the same. Without the kindness of the people that surround me I’d be lost. I’m incredibly lucky have so many awesome people in my life!
Lena, thanks for the question! I hope this answer has given you a taste for what my experience has been like thus far.