WHY TEACHING ENGLISH IN CHINA SHOULD BE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
It’s nearly been 3 years since I made the New Year’s resolution of teaching English in China and one that I kept and all the better for it. I remember distinctly, 2016 had just come to an end and 2017 had just begun, and as we all do during this time of the year we reflect on the past year and make goals for the future. I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, well I do, usually for about 5 minutes and do not carry it through. But this time it was different. I made a conscious effort to persevere with this New Year’s Resolution – it was to do something way, way out of my comfort zone, specifically teaching English in China.
What TEFL China provider to choose?
Knowing myself and knowing that teaching English in China was a big leap, I knew if I waited too long thinking about this then it would be another New Year’s Resolution left behind, and I knew I would convince myself not to go. So I did things thoughtfully but also quickly. After research, I found several TEFL programs and agencies online who could help get me a job in China, but TeachDiscoverChina stood out for their reputation and professionalism. I applied, had an interview and confirmed my place in Chengdu, Sichuan, for later in the year. I even purchased a flight ticket early so I couldn’t change my mind. Then I committed to doing the required online TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) course. Landing in Chengdu, the first week of culture shock, the language barrier, and being homesick wasn’t even enough to deter me away. I wanted to relish in this newfound independence and journey, and as it turns out it’s been one of the best things I’ve done, a cliché but also true.
To be honest I never saw myself as a teacher or did I ever really want to teach English. However, it was not even two years after graduation but I felt a change of scenery was needed. I was looking for a challenge and an adventure. And a TEFL job is probably one of the best stopgap/gap year positions out there, it’s great for self-growth and development and you truly learn a lot about yourself and what you can actually achieve, it also allows you to recollect your thoughts and gives you time decide what you really want to do next, plus any adventure is full of wonderful and unexpected surprises. Very rare, though it does happen, some even make a career out of TEFL teaching, bouncing from one beautiful city and country to another in a nomadic existence.
Personal growth in being a TEFL teacher in China
My personal TEFL journey was great because even though I didn’t see teaching English as a long-term career, the skills I’ve gained are adaptable and can be transferred to many other job roles. Not too many people have international experience in one of the world’s leading countries too, so it looks great on your CV, especially in this era of globalization. Overall the experience was just a blast and unbelievably fulfilling and rewarding. I’ve met so many interesting and friendly people along the way, done so many interesting things and immersed myself in Chinese culture, and learned a new language.
Chengdu – my new home
I’m based in the beautiful City of Chengdu, home of the pandas and capital of the land of abundance, Sichuan Province. And I’ve come to love this great place and become extremely comfortable with the city’s slow and leisurely pace. Chengdu is known for its high quality of living and low cost of living, what a great combo that is. During the almost 3 years I’ve been here I’ve witnessed this city grow rapidly, emphasized by the fact that when I first got here there were only 4 metro lines with now up to 10 and more in the future, making travel extremely convenient. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and is the economic hub of the southwestern part of China, outperforming Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen as a major city.
Discover China while teaching English
A TEFL job also allows for a lot of exploring and traveling, it’s one of the main benefits, and I’ve done a bit of that too. I’ve traveled to many exciting places around Sichuan and seen the pandas, the province literally has a lifetime of travel in it with several world-renowned tourist hotspots. But I’ve also been to Beijing, Qinghai, Gansu, Hong Kong and Chongqing, and outside of China to Malaysia. The movie buff inside me wants to quote Roy Batty in Blade Runner, so I will, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”. I’ve stood on a mountain over 4,000 meters high in altitude, I’ve stood in awe at the bottom of the 70-foot carving of the Giant Buddha in Leshan, I’ve also tingled my taste buds with authentic spicy Sichuan hotpot. And after 3 years, I’m still here, although no longer teaching English, I am part of the TeachDiscoverChina setup itself, trying to tell the TeachDiscoverChina story.
Why should teaching English in China be your New Year’s Resolution for 2020?
✅ Great for self-growth and development
✅ A good stopgap or gap year job
✅ Gain a lot of transferrable skills
✅ Get international Experience in a leading economy
✅ It looks fantastic on your CV
✅ Immerse yourself into the uniqueness of Chinese culture
✅ Opportunity to learn Mandarin
✅ Make some Chinese friends
✅ Travel around China and neighboring countries
✅ Take awesome pictures for your Facebook and Instagram
✅ Earn a good salary and save money with a low living cost
✅ See the pandas!
Also if you’d just like a chat about what’s it’s like from someone who’s been there and done it, feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to hear from you.
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And finally, if you’ve been teaching in China, please let us know about your experiences in the comment section below.