Teach Abroad Blog
Teach in China and let the adventures begin!
I came to Shanghai, China in 2011 to teach English and since then, there hasn’t been a dull moment. From all of my experiences, my trip to Guilin is one of my favorite experiences. While in this area, I went with some friends to visit Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces. We had a hotel reserved in the Dazhai area of the terraces, so we took a bus to Dazhai from Guilin. On the way up, there was so much rainfall that it caused a mud slide, which caused the road to become completely blocked by all the dirt. It was a little difficult to figure out what was happening since the bus driver only spoke Chinese, but it turned out that we needed to walk over the land side where another bus driver would come and pick us up. When we finally arrived at the terraces, we were completely lost. From the point where the bus dropped off to our hotel, it ended up being about a 2 ½ hour trek up and down the terraces to get there. I guess it was just lucky that two of us were carrying backpacks. Our friend without a backpack had one of the Chinese sherpas take her bag to our hotel for only 40 RMB.
Among the four language skills (Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing), teaching—as well as teaching—writing is the most difficult. This is because when students write, they are asked to express their own ideas. Rather than relying on their memory, they now have to tap into their creativity. This can be especially problematic if you teach in a country like China, where public education focuses primarily on memorization and regurgitation. Try to use the following two activities to give kids the confidence to write.
How to Not Get Stuck in a Crappy Job
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and to teach abroad but don’t know where to begin. In the four years I’ve spent in Asia, I’ve had a variety of jobs in and out of teaching. I’ve had some great teaching jobs, as well as some not-so-great ones. I write this to help every newbie who is thinking of getting a teaching job overseas, to make the best of their experience and get a position that will make them happy and enjoy their time in a foreign country. I wish someone gave me this advice when I was looking for a teaching position; it would have saved me a lot of time, effort, and headaches along the way.
Watching the World Cup in Shanghai
Yes it’s finally that time, the event football (that’s soccer for you sodden Americans out there) fans around the world eagerly wait for is finally here….the FIFA World Cup. Every four years a nation is united and collectively holds its breathe in anticipation, giving the chance for players to carve themselves a reputation amongst the games immortal heroes, or collapse under the relentless pressure of an expecting nation on the biggest of world stages.
Reverse Culture Shock
One difficult part of life as a foreign teacher in China that unfortunately is often overlooked is the ‘reverse culture shock’ experienced when a teacher returns to their home country. In general, the global experience is often highly stimulating and exciting. The foreign teacher is often in a position of higher power and autonomy, and also enjoys a higher standard of life with higher levels of disposable income as the cost of living in China is relatively low. However, when returning home it is often assumed that the teacher will merely slot back perfectly into the home country and company just as it was previously.
As crazy as it sounds when talking about your home country, usually, the repatriate has to relearn an old culture again, but it is often viewed from a different and less understanding perspective then when first experiencing a completely new culture. Frequently the returning teacher is shown little to no sympathy by their peers and friends, as from their viewpoint the teacher has been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity of such an amazing experience and all the other benefits that come with the role, and they are now merely complaining as they have to come back down to ‘reality’. All of this can potentially lead to feelings of being underappreciated and sometimes a loss of direction in life. Unless a person has experienced repatriation themselves they simply cannot relate to the individual, and this lack of understanding can prove to be very frustrating for the repatriate as they find it difficult to relate the value of their international experience to their family, friends, and colleagues.
5 ways to save money while living in China
Moving to China is a fantastic and life altering experience, particularly for someone who has never lived abroad before. Seeing the world through the lens of another society, one with a radically different culture and history and a vastly different center of focus inevitably changes how you view the world and your own society back home. This makes teaching in China rewarding in and of itself. However for most of us rewarding cultural experiences don’t pay off student loans. So for those of us without the benefit of a well-padded bank vault here are some tips for saving money will living in the middle kingdom.