What were your expectations prior to starting your role? How has the experience matched your expectations?
I have several years of experience teaching English in China so so there weren’t too many surprises. The city of Ningbo is really nice, clean and comfortable and a great place to experience the modern and developed side of China.
What do you like most about China?
That’s pretty difficult to answer as along with a few downsides there are so many great things about this country. One thing I’ve always enjoyed is China’s diversity. Unlike Korea and Japan, China seems to change a lot in different regions and the cuisine and culture is a great mix of the four corners.
What has taken a bit of getting used to?
Ningbo’s air is actually the best I’ve experienced but there are still some days when a mask is required and exercise outdoors is probably not such a great idea.
What’s your accommodation like?
My apartment here in Ningbo is fantastic! It’s a small, 2 floor flat that’s brand-new and across the street from my high school.
How have you got to know people socially (both Chinese and other ex-pats)?
I’ve found that co-workers usually end up being some of your closest friends in China, both local and foreign. Other ways to visit the local watering hole and chances are you’ll run into someone who is eager to make a foreign friend.
What have you found to be the major cultural differences? Have you made any cultural faux-pas?
The cultural differences between China and Canada are immense but really we are just humans trying to live a happy life. I have always preferred working for Chinese rather than North American bosses as they have always shown me a great deal of respect and have always done everything within their means to make my job easy and fun.
What places have you visited whilst working? How did you travel?
After 5 and a half years of living and traveling in China I can say that I have seen a lot. The only region I have yet to explore in the Northwest, Yunnan and Tibet but I hope to in the near future! I have always traveled by train and love it! Even those 25 hour trips across the country.
What is your favourite Chinese food?
Oh wow, that’s a great question. But I definitely have the answer! 把子肉! A giant slow cooked stew only found in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province.
Do you manage to save any money each month? If so, how much on average?
That is a bit difficult but it can be done with an extra part-time job if your bosses are ok with it.
What piece of advice would you offer to future applicants?
If you want to take a year off out of your daily grind back home and come to a place where you can completely change your life then come to China!
Do you have any feedback on how Opportunity China can improve its service for teachers?
Everything has been really great in my first year with Opportunity China. I hope to work with them for years to come!