Lyndsey & Shaz - It's So Awesome!
For anyone thinking about applying to teach in China, it’s the biggest leap of faith you will ever take to move to the other side of the world and a completely new culture shock but believe us, it’s entirely worth it and LHCEC will make sure you are in safe hands.
After the easy application process we were put in contact with each before arriving in China so don’t be afraid of being alone in a strange country, LHCEC can hook you up with other teachers to be in the same school and there will usually be other foreigners in your city anyway. The orientation week is a must – you will meet the most amazing people and gain friends instantly as well as learning essential teaching ideas. It’s nowhere near as difficult as you think, the school will give you free rein and you are allowed to teach anything you like (within age appropriate reason). Most of the students are very nice and eager to learn but you will find there are ones who are a little bit more harder to control.
If you are starting in the September term one of the unexpected surprises is a weeks national holiday at the beginning of October and you get the chance to explore a bit more of China before youve even really started teaching! Their holidays are nowhere near as stress free as you’re used to so be prepared for cramped conditions as everyone is off and travels at the same time. However, we chose to go to Beijing and see the Great Wall which was such an amazing experience we were both completely blown away with the amazing landscape that it has to offer and met even more new people from all over China and even other countries who we can now travel to to see in their hometowns too!
We have been in Zhuzhou for two months now and have never had a single regret since coming to China (ok maybe we’re still not quite used to the toilets or the “stinky tofu”yet!) but it will never let you down and NEVER EVER be boring. Living in Hunan does have its disadvantages in being placed in a smaller city than Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong means locals are not accustomed to westerners so there can be a lot of people staring, taking your photograph or saying Hello! which is great if you fantasise about being in the public eye but it can become very draining and some days you just want to be able to walk to the shops with being noticed. A quick word of advice: the food here is insanely good but if youre looking for similar items to back home you’ll have a tough job finding them. For example dairy, non-sweet bread, tuna, decent sausages and herbs (for italian style food) are some of the most difficult to find. If you like cooking, bring your own pots of herbs and spices to solve this problem. For the rest you may have to travel to find that craving!
There are so many benefits to being a teacher in China: Firstly a rewarding job and then afterwards all the benefits which come from being a westerner. Free parties, dinners, shopping, rock star status at school and within the city plus the opportunity to have so much fun you will never know what everyday will entail. One day you’ll be wined and dined at an expensive restaurant, next day you’ve joined a hip hop dance crew and are becoming lead dancers in a music video for them. Its completely random and so much more refreshing than the 9-5 of British society and that’s what makes it so great. To get along here you must be flexible and patient as Chinese people take a little longer to get things done and they like to change plans at the last minute but it’s all for your own benefit at the end of the day.