Published on:
October 26, 2018

by: Guest

Guest Post: A fun, but tiring first few weeks living and teaching in China

This week’s blog comes from Teach China Graduate Program 2018 blogger and University of Warwick Graduate, India-Mae Alby. India-Mae has been teaching at a Private Language Centre in Fuzhou since the summer of 2018.

Arrival, Training, and Teaching


I’m three weeks into my job as an English teacher in Fuzhou, Fujian province, working for a language centre, and I’m tired! But in a good way. I’ve now been in China for six weeks and I spent the first two of those completing my training to become an English teacher at the school’s Gu Tian branch. Juggling lesson observations with extreme jet lag and about three hours sleep a night was hard. But I learned so much information and I was as ready as I could ever be for my first ‘team-teach’ (teaching part of another teacher’s class).

By the time it came to me taking on my first classes alone I was nervous but felt comfortable at least pretending to know what I was doing! A thorough lesson plan and confidence (fake or not) takes you a long way and the students genuinely don’t know if things don’t go to plan. I learned just to remain calm and take a moment or two to remind myself of what activity was coming next in the lesson.

I’ve now been with my classes for a few weeks and finally know all of my students’ names! I’ve done progress checks, final tests, markings, songs, crafts, role plays, word searches, gap-fills and will do Halloween activities this week. The students are amazing and some are just so ridiculously adorable! Their enthusiasm for learning English is wonderful. The school I trained at and started working at has now been closed down and we have all started working at a brand new school that’s closer to my apartment! Super excited to get settled there (and quickly walk home to cook dinner after work).

‘I’m tired because I have too much fun here…’


The work has been tiring but honestly, that’s not the reason I’m tired now. I’m tired because I have so much fun here! People at York really make an effort to socialise outside of work, across all the branches in Fuzhou. I recently went to a BBQ, I’ve been to bars and clubs and restaurants, and I’ve been sightseeing at gorgeous spots like Xi Hu park and Xi Chan temple. Fuzhou is huge and there is so much to do. I live right next to a huge mall called Show Park which contains a cinema, ice rink and gym. There’s a beautiful abandoned mall that was built in a European style and is now full of small market sellers. You can buy anything from batteries to curtains to Halloween supplies from one of the many stalls inside.

Exploring beyond Shenzhen!


I’ve explored beyond Fuzhou too, catching a six-hour train to the ridiculously large city of Shenzhen during Chinese National Week in early October. The trip was hastily planned by my friends and me, meaning that we ended up booking a rather unsavoury hostel, whose six-person dormitories came with squat toilets that did not flush. We had to manually ‘flush’ them by pouring buckets of water down them but dealt with this inconvenience pretty well (ie. toilet trips to the mall that was close by).

We also accidentally walked into a snake restaurant – all snake on the menu, nothing else – and afterwards found the live snake shop next door that was supplying the meat. We did really fun things too though, like climbing Nanshan Mountain, exploring Seaworld (not an aquarium, just a huge outdoor area with a massive fake ship, filled with restaurants and bars) and OCT park, a waterside creative space. We ate amazing pancakes, waffles, cakes, Mexican food, huge Chinese breakfast spreads and more. We got back to Fuzhou, enjoyed one day of rest and it was back to work.

Looking forward to the months ahead!


I feel like I should start spacing out all the events I’m going to and all the fun I’m having, just to enable myself to be at work and not feel tired, but I’ve also agreed to climb Yong Tai mountain this weekend and I’ll probably say yes to any other opportunity that is suggested to me.

I have no regrets about all the things I’ve done so far and I’m excited to see what more Fuzhou and the rest of China have to offer me!


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