Teaching English in China.
I decided to come to China for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted a to explore the world and learn about new cultures and Chinese culture had always interested me. Secondly, I wanted to have a break after university without wasting a year getting drunk on a ski slope- I wanted to achieve something from my time abroad.
In China I am learning about culture and language as I wanted, but I am also learning a lot about myself (cliché but oh well). Working in such a foreign place is so out of our usual comfort zone you inevitably learn new things. This has also been useful to my plans for returning to the UK, when I speak to employers and you get asked questions like ‘explain a time when you have shown leadership ability’, I invariably use an example of me controlling a class of Chinese children. Not only is this more original than saying you were Social Secretary of your rugby team it’s genuinely interesting for the employer to hear about as you can bet it’s something they haven’t done!
I live in Shanghai, which I chose because it’s the most modern city in China. There are a lot of things I love, the pure chaotic charm of the city, the massive expat scene, the hugely over the top nights out-complete with Russian dancers and free champagne- and the ever present sense that this is a city on the up. You can feel how everyone is scrambling to succeed, whether it’s in the buzzing streets, the lavish clubs or from the innumerable supercars, the city is abuzz (literally- it’s so loud!). That’s why I chose china and a megacity like Shanghai- I plan to work in international trade and Shanghai is the city of the future in this respect-Beijing may be the capital but Shanghai is where the business gets done.
So would I recommend teaching in China? If you want an adventure, if you want to learn about new culture and language, if you want to experience something you’ve never experienced before and push yourself completely out of your comfort zone, and if you want to make yourself stand out from other graduates. Then yes. I definitely would.