John Harewood

Beijing

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

I expected that I would be teaching at a more advanced level of English, whereas most of my students are very young and in the very early stages.
Also, the job is a lot more demanding and draining than I could have imagined – especially teaching 9 hours of class per day on weekends!
On the positive side, the Chinese staff have been more positive and supportive than I could have imagined.

What do you like most about China?

The food!

What has taken a bit of getting used to?

“Little Emperors” (Spoilt children)

What’s your accommodation like?

5 minutes walk from work, sharing with 2 other people, 2330RMB a month. It’s like student accommodation.

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

There’s lots of bars and cafes where it’s easy to make friends (both Chinese and ex-pats)
Thebeijinger.com has a wide range of events and groups for socializing.

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

As far as the job goes, office “management” is certainly different, and the way the higher-ups treat the Chinese staff has been an eye opener.
Outside of work, shopping etiquette is a bit of a minefield and I’m sure I’ve tried to bargain in inappropriate situations.

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

Been too busy to travel this time but there are an abundance of places accessible by bus or train that would make for a great daytrip.

What is your favourite Chinese food?

Hot pot!

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

6000RMB

What piece of advice would you offer to future applicants?

Job – think carefully about what age group you would like to teach before selecting your school! Teaching older students is much easier!
Accommodation – Shop around and consider going through a reputable agency rather than risking it with independent landlords – it’s more trustworthy and a lot of things tend to require maintenance – sorting this out is a lot smoother with an agency.
Lifestyle – get involved and do as much as you can with the time you’re here!

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

Opportunity China has been great throughout the whole process, there’s nothing further that I can suggest!

john-harewood


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