Why China? So many people have asked me.. having only lived here for a short period of time, I can give so many reasons why choosing to teach English in China was the best decision I have ever made. Firstly, it boosted my confidence as I made so many new friends both at my training camp and in my school that I teach at.
English teaching may seem daunting at first, but rest assured everyone in China is more than welling to give a helping hand and help you with any worries or struggles. Secondly, China is no doubt a magnificent and beautiful country to visit. Some say they experienced culture shock, but I seem to have fit right in with the locals.
Everyone here is beyond friendly and has good intentions. Everyday is an adventure, with so much to see and experience. In my short four months living here, I've already visited capital cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. As I live in the south of China in Foshan, it's nice to explore the bigger cities and smaller towns in China to really get a sense of the culture here. Thirdly, the language barrier is never an issue, picking up small phrases will get you a long way in restaurants and everyday conversation.
Mandarin is a fascinating language and is quickly becoming widely spoken outside of China. I recommend getting a phrase book and teaching yourself the basics, it helps a lot! On top of all of those positives, China has opened up many doors for me personally. I was lucky enough to be placed at a well recognised private school for primary and secondary school students.
As Brits we tend to be quite polite and mannerly, but because of the cultural difference manners tend to not be a priority here so don't be alarmed if you're rushed out of the way on the very busy metro or stared at for long periods of time for not purchasing an item quick enough - it's a very fast paced country with lots going on, so keep your wits about you, pay no attention to the constant coughing and spluttering on the streets and you will succeed!
Because of my dedication and hard work, a staff member recommended my teaching and work ethic to another school, and I have been able to teach a subject which I have a huge passion for - Drama. My degree is in this field as well, so I was sent away to work at another school to encourage students to speak English and learn new skills. On top of this, I have been recommended through word of mouth and my school, to tutor other students and adults alike in my spare time. Overall, I feel very privileged to be working, learning and exploring in China. I wish everyone every success in getting here and in their future careers!
Written for The Fewer Things by Michael Mahon - Check out Michael's adventure on his Instagram page @isthismike