Teaching in China for two years was one of the best decisions I have ever made and was an absolutely phenomenal experience. After graduating from Brock University’s Teacher’s College in 2014, I moved to China to teach at a Canadian International high school. More specifically, I lived in Nanjing where I taught Math, English and ESL using the Ontario curriculum.
I personally found the best part of living in China was stepping outside my comfort zone and challenging myself to take on new adventures while learning to become more independent, outgoing and adaptable. I was able to learn so much about the Chinese culture and was able to experience it all firsthand. The people in China were so friendly and welcoming — not only the Chinese staff that I worked alongside, but also the locals that I met in my day-to-day life. It is also inevitable that you will make some lifelong friends when teaching abroad. You’ll quickly meet other people who can relate to your lifestyle and who have the same interests and life goals as you. Before going overseas, I had anticipated that I would feel homesick – but to my surprise, that rarely happened. Between skyping my friends and family back home as well as spending time and going on adventures with the new family I had created for myself, there was never a chance to feel homesick.
Working at an international school is such a great way to gain valuable professional experience. Walking into a full-time job, straight out of teacher’s college was a great way to put my skills to practice. Having my own classroom from start to finish for two years really helped me grow as a teacher. I had taught ESL during a placement in Canada before leaving to China, but what I learned teaching in China was so much richer. My practices for teaching English language learners greatly improved and I learned to be a much more flexible, patient and creative teacher. My Chinese students were an absolute pleasure to teach, as they were all polite and eager to learn. Not to mention how rewarding it was to see their excitement about incorporating western teaching methods into the classroom!
I would have to say that many of my fondest memories living abroad took place beyond the walls of the classroom. I was fortunate enough to travel all around China: from small villages to the Great Wall to breathtaking mountains and national parks. Another perk to living in China is that it is very close to many other amazing countries. I was able to travel (very inexpensively) all over South East Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and many more. If I hadn’t been living in Asia, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to all of these incredible countries and I wouldn’t have all my unforgettable experiences in each of them.
If you are someone who loves to travel, is interested in challenging yourself and would like to gain invaluable, once-in-a-lifetime teaching experience, I would highly recommend teaching abroad. You won’t regret it!