Teacher Guest Post: Living and Teaching in Shenyang
We’re delighted to introduce our new resident blogger in Shenyang, Melissa Weston. Melissa graduated from the University of Sheffield in the summer of 2017, before embarking on the Teach China Graduate Program. Melissa has been working as a teacher for EF Shenyang since September 2017, and over the course of the last year, has acquired many skills, competencies and experiences. Over the coming weeks, Melissa will be sharing advice, memories and encouragement for those interested in living, working and teaching in China.
Hi, I’m Melissa, the new resident blogger for Opportunity China! I came out to China in September last year, and I can’t believe how quickly 12 months have gone by! I’m working in a city called Shenyang, in the North East (DongBei) region of China.
I’ve really enjoyed my last 10 months here, I’ve met so many amazing people, made some friends for life and learnt a lot about myself and of course, Chinese culture! With this in mind, I’d like to use my first blog, to explain why China’s such a great place to work, let you know more about teaching in China, and the city of Shenyang.
A lot of people ask me this, honestly, I wanted the opportunity to travel the world and this job makes that possible for me! I get 2 days off a week so I’ve been on loads of day trips to the surrounding cities and scenic areas.
In the extra holiday time I’ve had off I’ve visited Japan, South Korea and so many amazing cities in China that I’d never have seen if I didn’t live here! If you’re looking to travel and see the world from a real life and cultural perspective then I’d definitely recommend living in a different country. It really pushes you out of your comfort zone and I think that helps you learn a lot about who you are!
How is the teaching?
I really enjoy my job! The kids are amazing and although there are some really tough days where you’re super busy and tired the students make it worth while. Teaching is definitely one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had.
I usually work about 25 hours a week but we have a winter and summer course, when the students are on school holidays, where we can work up to 40 hours per week . That can get a bit tiring! However, I still think I would be working a lot more hours for less money and satisfaction if I were doing a graduate scheme in the UK.
What’s Shenyang like?
Shenyang is a second tier city with about 8 million people living in the city itself and 13 million if you include the surrounding areas too. Having said that, I don’t think it feels like there are that many people.
I rent my apartment through the school so I only have to walk for about 5 minutes to get to work everyday which was great when it was -20°! At the moment though it’s the summer so it’s been up to 37° which is quite the opposite extreme but luckily most places have air con so the heat is bearable!
There are so many cool things to do in this city. There are open mic nights at some of the local bars when lots of the foreigners from all over the city come together and sing. This is a really fun night and a great way to meet other people.
As well as this, there is the river where you can go on a cruise or kayak in the summer or go for a stroll in the colder months- it’s beautiful when it’s all frozen over.
If you’re more of a daredevil, then you can scuba dive with sharks in a huge fish tank in a mall (only in China)! You get given all of the equipment and dive with an experienced diver to scuba dive for the first time!
What I love about Shenyang is there is always something to do or see. You’ll never be bored of trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone be that singing in front of loads of people, kayaking or swimming with sharks!
Melissa is part of the 2017 Teach China Graduate Program. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.