Elaine Haley


What were your expectations prior to starting your role? How has the experience matched your expectations?

Absolutely! My coordinator really helped me find a school based on my expectations of excellent teacher training structures from schools.

What do you like most about China?

The people, the food, nature and cheap cost of living.

Teaching in China

What has taken a bit of getting used to?

The language barrier, trying new foods, the humidity and the slow internet connection

What’s your accommodation like?

Very nice!! Clean, spacious apartment in a well groomed apartment complex. The school offers excellent around the clock apartment support and maintenance too.

How have you got to know people socially (both Chinese and other ex-pats)?

Through York school and shopping trips.

Elaine in China

What have you found to be the major cultural differences? Have you made any cultural faux-pas?

Asking for certain meats eg. in a Muslim takeaway place, they don’t sell pork based dishes as I’m told it’s considered unclean so I was embarrassed for asking if they sell pork. Crossing the road, it seems that while the traffic laws are very strict in the UK but not so strict here in China. Like motorists will run through the green light despite seeing people cross the road.

What places have you visited whilst working? How did you travel?

Hong Kong, which was amazing and I flew by plane. I’ve also visited a few cities by taxis around Fuzhou which are lovely.

What is your favourite Chinese food?

Sweet and sour pork.

Do you manage to save any money each month? If so, how much on average?

I save about £300 which is a lot more than I’d be able to save back home

What piece of advice would you offer to future applicants?  

Be courageous, trust your instincts & you might have many people back home tell you negative things about China and it’s people to scare you off… don’t believe them! It’s likely they’ve got their misconceptions from the media and other unreliable sources. Opportunity China are very professional, knowledgable and personable, thus they’ll help you in your applications to schools based on your needs and expectations

Do you have any feedback on how Opportunity China can improve its service for teachers?  

Perhaps encourage the schools to send better teacher training resources to successful applicants so that they can better prepare themselves for their new teaching roles.

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