What were your expectations prior to starting your role? How has the experience matched your expectations?
Opportunity China assured me that the school I was going to was very accommodating and the ethos there suited me, so before arriving I felt quite calm and was excited. Apart from expecting to enjoy the curriculum that the school teaches under, I tried not to have too many expectations, as I couldn’t find a lot about Fuzhou online. Since arriving here in Fuzhou, and now 5 months down the line any mild expectations I may have had have been totally surpassed. I am supported in every aspect of not only my job but of my life in Fuzhou. York English are a company that are always looking to expand, grow and improve so their welfare of their staff is brilliant and they are always open to feedback.
What do you like most about China?
Everything. I would actually struggle to find something I didn’t like about China, I guess the only thing that would push me to leave is my family. Every day I see things I have never seen before, tasted food I’ve never heard of, meet new people and plan how and when I can see more.
What has taken a bit of getting used to?
It’s strange not speaking the language but it’s quite amazing how easily you can get by with little to no mandarin. Although saying that, sometimes the simplest of tasks can become almost impossible like going to the bank or the doctors, luckily I have admin staff that are happy to help. I feel that things like this have made me a calmer person, I don’t expect things like this to work so it they do, it’s a bonus.
What’s your accommodation like?
No complaints, good security, good parking area and fully functioning apartment with enough space comfortably for two people.
How have you got to know people socially (both Chinese and other ex-pats)?
Yes lots! Our school has a community of over 100 ex-pat teachers who meet every week socially. I also have many Chinese friends who work at the school as teaching assistants.
What have you found to be the major cultural differences? Have you made any cultural faux-pas?
I find socially Chinese people are very blunt and honest whereas western people will sugar coat or subtly imply things. I don’t think I’ve made any cultural faux-pas, I have a friend that is Chinese who I’m usually out with so she would hopefully tell us if we were.
What places have you visited whilst working? How did you travel?
Quanzhou, Xiamen, Anxi, Hong Kong and Vietnam. For travel within mainland china I traveled by train and flew to Hong Kong and Vietnam.
What is your favourite Chinese food?
Lizhirou, qiézi , chow mein, danchaofan, can’t pick- the only thing I draw the line at is chicken feet!
Do you manage to save any money each month? If so, how much on average?
I have been saving 2,000rmb but I have been travelling each month and buying a lot of stuff on Taobao. From this month I’m trying to save 4,000rmb each month.
What piece of advice would you offer to future applicants?
Do it, take a chance, have no expectations and roll with it.
Do you have any feedback on how Opportunity China can improve its service for teachers?
My experience with opportunity china was fantastic. I really felt the company listened to want I wanted and took my personality and interests into account to find a school that I was suited to.