Teaching in China over the last 4 months has probably been the most rewarding and exciting time of my life. In a short period of time I’ve traversed the great wall of China, explored the caves of Guilin, took a cruise down the Li river, experienced the nightlife of Guangzhou, explored the bund and other parts of Shanghai as well as relaxed by the harbour of Shenzhen.
This wasn’t something I’d planned for years. The reality is, many people face an existential crisis in university. Living costs rise, rent rises and salaries drop. Grad schemes are essentially cheap labour now for many UK companies. Whilst it can be tempting just to get a masters to stay on at university, the size of my student loan was already too big for my liking.
Living in China so far has allowed me to pay off the majority of my overdraft, have my own place, book holidays to south east Asia due to my generous holiday allowance from my school and generally live a stress free life. Living without the money stress of being a student whilst without the workplace pressure of most grad schemes has been a revelation.
When I told many people I was going to China I was often asked ‘Why would you go there?’. China has so much to see and do It’s more a question of ‘Why wouldn’t you go there?’. Every weekend I find myself doing something brand new. This weekend I booked a two hour coach to Hong Kong for the equivalent of £18. Return. Whilst loads of my friends are scraping pennies together after Christmas I’m experiencing something which I will be looking back on for the rest of my life.
Couple this with the fact that the teaching is so easy and it’s a no brainer. The children here all want to learn and just enjoying meeting foreigners. Wether it’s children from Kindergarten or IELTS students, they all want to impress you with their English and make your job very easy.
If you enjoy exploring or you’re merely looking for a change of pace, look at China.
Spend one hour looking at China videos on YouTube about the incredible travelling opportunities as well as ‘expat’ blogs and you will be mind blown by the endless possibilities. It’s a big step to go around the world, but for those who make it you will find yourself like me spending every day stress free in a beautiful country thanking your lucky stars you’re not sat at home wishing you were anywhere but your job.
Written for The Fewer Things by Billy Odonovan - Check out Billy's adventure on his Instagram page @odonovanbilly