Interested in teaching abroad in China? Be sure to read our interview with Amy about what led her to teach abroad and what her experience has been thus far!
Tell us about yourself! We would love to get to know more about your background and what drew you to teaching abroad.
I always knew I wanted to travel but I didn’t know how to go about it, where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. After looking into TEFL, I saw it was a great opportunity to travel as TEFL opens up so many doors in so many different countries that I would have never thought of traveling to before! I would also be able to gain experience in a career path I never looked into previously.
You were on a much different career path. Tell us about your college study experiences and how/why you made the switch to teaching.
I studied food sciences for one year and realized the course really wasn’t for me. Naturally, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do with my life so I started working full time and again I still wasn’t sure what course I wanted to go back into. I looked at doing something completely different which TEFL gave me the opportunity.
Tell us about your TEFL experience. Do you feel that it prepared you to teach in China?
Yes, my TEFL experience was great. The layout of the course made it so easy to follow. And because I had no previous teaching experience it really prepared me. It gives you great ideas for lesson plans, and it really sets you up for the classroom experience. So I feel like it really does prepare you for what has to come but of course, a lot of learning comes from the classroom as well as most teachers have different methods of teaching.
You moved to China with your boyfriend, how has it been working and traveling with him? What led you both to make the decision to teach abroad in China?
It’s been absolutely great, I am so lucky to experience living in a new country and traveling to new places with him. We’re both on the same wavelength which makes it even better. We both knew we wanted to travel and again wasn’t too sure where or how but we saw there was an internship in China. We would have never thought of working and living in China. It really is amazing we’ve seen and done so much together so far and it’s only the beginning of our travels. I’m excited to see where we’ll end up next or will we end up staying in China, because we are still undecided on that one.
Tell us about living in China. What were your initial thoughts? Was there any culture shock?
Words really can’t describe China unless you experience it yourself. There has been ALOT of culture shocks but I think we have adapted pretty well. In terms of the food, it is very different from what we’re used to but it is simply delicious. You will get a lot of stares, people will come up and take pictures of you, just embrace it. The Chinese people are so friendly even if they can’t speak your language, they will try to help you. The locals are great we’ve sat at a local park for hours dancing and playing ping pong and it really is the true experience. I am so grateful we picked China for our internship because it really is an amazing place.
Since moving to China, you and your boyfriend have traveled all over the country. Can you tell us a bit about your travels?
We started off in Beijing, we absolutely loved the hustle and bustle. The city has so many beautiful attractions like the Forbidden City, there are beautiful parks that you can spend all day at, we really enjoyed our time in Beijing. We were also in a coastal city called Weihei it’s on the east coast. It had a beach that was so different from the hustle of Beijing. It was quite peaceful. Now we are based in Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. The city is beautiful, a lot more relaxed if you are comparing it the bigger cities like Beijing. We are really getting the best of both worlds as there is a Mongolian culture here in terms of the food and lifestyles. We’ve been to the grasslands where we rode horses in the mountains and had Mongolian traditional food. We have also danced and sang with the locals it was great.
Any advice for anyone considering teaching abroad?
Honestly just do it. I was so nervous thinking of standing in front of a class and being a teacher. But now that I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I’ve done it, it’s the best experience you’ll ever get. It’s extremely rewarding once you get to know your students and you see the progress because of you. I am so happy I chose to teach abroad and especially in China, you really won’t regret it.