Read as much book as you can and watch as many movies as you want on china but nothing and I mean nothing prepares you for the middle kingdom. Trekking nearly 5,000 miles across the world to teach English sounded crazy at first but I decided to do it. So off I went to china in the middle of august.
As soon as I got off the plane the smell and heat hit me as well as the lack of English speakers or signs anywhere, but it was really fun trying to find a taxi to get to my hotel.
I have now been in China for over six months and I can honestly say that I have adjusted to the vastly different culture. When I first got here I found myself comparing everything to back home in England. This resulted in me always being disappointed.
Everything is so different; from the way of life, eating habits, social etiquette and many other things, sometimes it even felts like a whole different world completely. My main hang up was personal space. This took a while to get used to as well as the staring. I sometimes joked that it is like being famous without money.
For your viewing pleasure:
Here there are lots of challenges we have to face every day as well; the biggest one would be the size of each class. On average there are 50 students in each class at an ordinary middle school in China, so sometimes the order and discipline can be a big issue. But it really depends on the class, if you let the kids bug you then they will keep giving you a hard time and be loud and naughty.
In that case you need to get in touch with their class tutor or invent an effective form of punishment yourself. On the whole, however, as long as you keep your class interesting and engaging, they will adore you, enjoy your class, and appreciate your effort, all of which will make it the most rewarding job ever. At the university it’s a little similar; you teach smaller groups (30-40 students per class), students are much more engaging and always eager to participate in a discussion and always interested in any topic you would bring up in the class.
Of course, it’s not for everyone, but if you are the adventurous individualist, who is looking for a sudden 180degree turn in his or her life, a change in their everyday routine, someone who wants to sign up for an exciting discovery of a completely different world then China is the place you want to go to!
The beginnings are always hard and I won’t tell you that it’s easy for everyone to adjust quickly to the completely new environment. There’s no British food here, you won’t buy any normal ham or a sausage, milk is twice and cheese even 10 times more expensive than back at home, that’s true. But don’t forget that at the local marketplace you can buy vegetables and fruits that you have never seen before, eat dishes your palate has never tasted before and every day live your life to the fullest without being worried about how much it’s going to cost.