Things to do before in China: Before and After You Arrive
Are you planning to come to China? Do you have fears of what it might be like when you get here? For most people like myself it’s natural to have mix emotions about relocating to a new country. Yes, adapting might be a little difficult in your first few weeks but overtime you will get accustomed and you will find lots of things to do in China. I’ll share a few tips with you that might help you before and when you get here.
Family away from home.
Trust your gut feeling
With the high demand of English teachers there are many recruiters seeking to find candidates to work in schools across China. These schools range from public, private and training institutions. It’s so awesome that everyone wants to learn English so once you are qualified it will be pretty easy to get a job. But! There are so many things you need to consider. I suggest, during your interview you ask the interviewer questions as well to know what you are getting into. In addition, do your research about the location you will be going. Will this city fit your lifestyle? Is the salary you will be paid worth the trip? Some employers will offer high salary but not much benefits while some will offer the average salary with lots of benefits. At the end of the day it’s all about what works for you and what doesn’t. Just be sure to do your research before you affix your signature to a contract.
Co-workers at a Christmas dinner by the company
Personally, I trusted my gut feeling before finalizing which job I thought was best for me. In May, after searching for a job I narrowed my search down to three (3) different job offers. Why did I do this? It’s always good to keep your options open. Of course, all these job offers were way better than the current job I was doing. I took into consideration the location, the salary, the benefits, type of school etc until I accepted the one my gut feeling said was the right one. Additionally, my recruiter Jian explained everything clearly and provided all the answers to whatever concerns I had. He and his team ensured, that my process went smoothly while doing all documentations from the minute I accepted the offer. Talk about keeping it real. He definitely did! Today, I am pleased and happy that I trusted my gut, my recruiter and the company did not disappoint me. Thank you Mr. Yang! You are amazing.
Things To Do In China: Be patient
Most importantly when you arrive in China, there are a few things you need to do such as getting a SIM card, finding an apartment if one is not provided, get a health check done, getting your residence permit etc. These things take time so don’t expect to just get here and it will all be done in 5 minutes. No! no! no! They are all very important and need to get done so you have to be patient through all the processes to ensure everything is done properly. In most cases, you will be given assistance to get these things done so be patient and appreciate whoever is assisting you through this process.
Appreciating the support team.
Again, adapting to a new environment, culture or country will definitely take some time. Don’t stress yourself too much, I suggest you rather be patient with yourself to adjust. You will have culture shocks because of course, it’s not your own country. Eating at a restaurant, you are more likely to be given a pair of chopsticks and not a knife and fork that you are probably use to. It’s ok, if you don’t know how to use them at first because overtime you will. Even now I still struggle to use chopsticks while eating, but I’m still trying.
Waiting for dinner at a restaurant.
As I mentioned in my previous article, stepping into the classroom you also need to be patient and get to know your students. Don’t just walking and start teaching away without knowing who your students are. Some students may be shy to communicate with you while others might be excited because you are a foreigner. Even you as a teacher, may be nervous walking in a classroom of students you are meeting for the first time. Nonetheless be patient, confident and everything will work in your favour.
After class photo with grade 1 students.
What kind of relationship do you want to have with the people around you? Your answer to this question should be a good relationship. Wherever you go in life, it’s key to maintain a good relationship with your employer, your co-workers, friends and students. Remember, the employer is the person who hired you, in control of your salary and the reason you are coming or already in China. Treat them with respect and ensure you conduct yourself and give yourself and employer a good reputation.
Words from the heart of my contact teacher Amy.
Your co-workers in the workplace will be very busy most times but saying at least hello, smiling and having a quick chat doesn’t hurt. Be nice, be kind and provide whatever help and support you can to them as they too will most likely do the same for you once you maintain a good relationship. My current contact teacher Amy so far has been really genuine, helpful and I appreciate her so much as well as my other co-workers. We work together, support each other and when we get a chance to hang out we definitely have fun. She has show me a lot of new things to do in China.
Co-worker Rene celebrating her birthday and having fun with her co-workers.
It’s also good to have good relationships with your friends, they too are important. China has a lot of foreigners and whether you work in the same company or not you are bound to meet new people. Be polite and meet new people, get to know each other especially if you are from different countries and have fun. I personally, have met a lot of people, some are foreigners while others are local Chinese people who we might have met once, exchanged WeChat and became friends. I appreciate them all and maintain a good relationship with them.
Celebrating my 24th birthday with friends and co-workers
In relation to students, you will be spending most of your time in the classroom with them. Use whatever opportunity you can to get to know them so that your class will be engaging and fun while they learn all the time. If you can do this it’s great. You are a happy teacher with a class of happy students. I love to see my kids laugh, expressing themselves and having fun whether inside or outside of the classroom. For the middle school students, I’m currently teaching some even have my WeChat and we will have conversations. Of course, I set boundaries and conversations are not out of context.
A moment with grade 7 students.
What’s life without a little fun? Ensure you enjoy yourself while you are at it. It’s China! There are a lot of things to do, places to go and things to see. Plus it’s really cheap to travel around. You work hard and you owe it to yourself to have some fun whenever you can. If you are a loner, it’s ok go on an adventure by yourself, take photos, enjoy some Chinese cuisine. Personally, I work during the week so on Friday evenings I’m in weekend mode. I make time to relax , watch movies and spend time with my friends which is even more fun.
Meeting new friends on Christmas.
Now remember, if you are coming or already in China consider these things. Trust your gut feeling when you need to make a decision, be patient with yourself, others around you and build good relationships and have fun on your journey. Teaching in China can be a great experience. It all begins with you. I wish you best of luck for the rest of the year and beyond.
Author: Kedesha Douglas
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