James Hale

After graduating from university I moved straight to Chengdu, China, securing a teaching job through Opportunity China. Living in China is great; you experience something different and unexpected every day and there’s never a dull moment.

My first couple of weeks of teaching were nerve-racking as I had no previous experience and was thrown in at the deep end, but with hindsight this was beneficial as I soon found my own style and learnt from the mistakes I made early on.

Seeing my students make progress has been extremely rewarding; watching a four-year-old write her name for the first time, listening to an eight-year-old tell me about his day, and sharing the excitement with a student scoring well enough in an English exam to obtain a place at a US university have been just a few of the highlights of my time here.

Famous for laid-back people, delicious food and bad traffic, I’ve never regretted choosing Chengdu from the many cities I considered when I first decided to move to China. A city of 14 million people that no one outside of China seems ever to have heard of, Chengdu feels like authentic China whilst offering the occasional Western amenity.
When you find yourself with some spare time, it’s very exciting to have so much of Asia on your doorstep. The opportunity to travel was one of the reasons I chose to come to China and, using the money I’ve saved here, I’ve been able to visit Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xi’an and Lijiang, as well as a trip to Thailand.

I would recommend teaching in China to anyone. Many people come here and decide never to leave, whilst those that move on are undoubtedly enriched by the experiences, the skills and the memories they acquire whilst they’re here.

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