China is a country defined by change and development. With fishing villages of 30,000 evolving into megacities with populations in excess of 19 million in the same generation, a country defined by communist ideals and dogma in the 1960’s and 1970’s becoming one of the world’s financial and business powerhouses in the modern day. This change and development also takes place on a more personal level, with teachers in China adapting and developing in numerous ways. Our Resident Blogger, Melissa, shares some of the ways China has shaped her over the last year.
1. I’m More Understanding
I’ve definitely become more open to new ideas and ways of life. Certain customs I, at first, found bizarre I now find completely normal and don’t phase me at all. For example in the North East of China (and maybe other provinces too) they believe drinking hot water is really good for you, even in summer! The Chinese very rarely drink cold or iced water. When I first arrived I thought this was really strange but it actually grows on you! It’s all about being open to new ideas and trying things before you say you don’t like it.
I’ve also eaten some very weird things since being here, some of which have been really nice and other which I probably will avoid in future (and advise you to do the same)!
But not only that, the way of life and thinking is so different to our own it’s hard to understand from text books and word of mouth; there are so many foods to try, places to see, and people to meet – China’s a country that can only truly be experienced through fully immersing yourself, and it will be oh so different to what you imagine!
2. I ‘Grab Life by the Horns’
In essence, I’m a lot less lazy. As I have 2 days off work per week I’ve found that I want to go and explore this beautiful country as much as I can when I have the chance. I’ve been on so many day trips around the area because everything is so cheap! I’ve also studied (which I thought I wouldn’t ever do again after graduating) Chinese and I am hoping to take a Chinese language proficiency test before I leave!
3. I’m SO Much Louder!
I’ve become so much more confident and outgoing. I think this is mostly because of my teaching where everyone is expecting you to perform. I have really enjoyed getting to know the students and seeing them grow and their English improve – which I have helped them to achieve!
I’ve also noticed my confidence grow with being able to speak a foreign language. I think learning another language is one thing but actually having the confidence for a native speaker being able to understand you is another! The best thing about Chinese people is no matter how awful your Chinese is they always say its amazing which is another great confidence boost!