It’s been nearly two years since I decided I’d had enough of my mundane job working in a call centre and going to university to study my masters. I didn't quite know what I wanted to do and this left me in a state of mind I’d never felt before. One of my friends who I worked with had just moved to China and was teaching in a high school and I was beyond jealous of this. She got to see parts of the world I’d only dreamed of seeing, she got to do a job I have always wanted to do and she got to meet people who I really wanted to meet. So this was the beginning of a journey I never thought I would take. I didn't want to be part of the normal 9 to 5 anymore and I was always thinking of a way to get out of being in the mundane.
The applying was the easy part and at the time I didn’t know or realise this. I met other people who were going to China too and they helped me through the process of doubting if this was the right move for me. Once I got to China I realised this journey was way crazier than I ever could of imagined and this was only the beginning of it. I moved to a city in the south of China called Foshan. I went to a middle school with 7 other foreign English teachers. The kids were, and still are the friendliest people I have ever met. They would greet me every morning with a huge smile and say good night every night with the same smile. I taught grade 7 which are age 12 to 13 year old and I imagined they would be moody teenagers and not want to learn but I was massively wrong. They were the total opposite and the kids were a huge part in the choices I made. They gave me the gift of being a good teacher; they made me feel like I was doing a good job and they helped me want to better my teaching style.
Throughout first year I got to travel across China such as; Beijing, Shanghai, Hunan and Guangzhou. I also got to visit some of the places I was very jealous about my friends visiting. I travelled around Vietnam and Thailand during my winter and summer breaks. They were everything I thought they would be and so much more. I have met some amazing people through my journey and I am blessed to call these people my friends. There is so much more travelling and meeting I want to do but not enough time in one year. This helped my choice of coming back and doing a second year.
I have just started my second year in China; I’m in a smaller city called Huizhou. It's a completely different world to what I was in last year. Huizhou isn’t as well built and as westerner friendly as Foshan, but it is still as beautiful. We have a great beach and a huge fishing dock nearby which is lovely to go sit by during my spare time. The school is brand new and it's the first year it has been open. We only have around 300 students but we are gaining more as time goes on. I teach much younger students which range from 6 to 14 years old. The smaller students still scare the life out of me to teach but they make ever day super fun. Second year has been a lot harder as I have had to change my job and change my age group but I wanted to experience something new and this has helped my teaching skills over the last year.
At the moment I am the only foreign teacher in my school but it has its good and bad points! The good is my Chinese is massively improving. The bad is the struggle some days to get my point across. So far China has taught me to be more daring and say yes more. Say yes when a family invite you to dinner, say yes when your co-workers want to take you to the beach and say yes when you want to go travelling. You may think it’s not a good idea but what I have learnt is its more fun when you say yes because you get to do things you wouldn't normally do. This is still only the beginning of my journey and there are still many more to come. So, take my advice and say YES! to China and say yes to everything it has to offer.
Written for The Fewer Things by Rebecca Gorman-Carter - Check out Rebecca's adventure on her Instagram page @atravellingbee