Susan Bradley, blog author
Susan Bradley

It's exciting to take on and begin something new, whether it be a new hobby, a new job, or maybe even living in a new country! Those of us teaching English as a Second Language internationally, are doing all these, and more, every day.

I had always had the dream of living and working abroad. I have always enjoyed traveling and seeing the world as a tourist. As fun and as pleasant as my travels had always been, I wanted a different experience; I wanted more. I am lucky to be from the beautiful and very international San Francisco Bay Area. We have numerous diaspora in the bay area and working in the FinTech industry with business owners, I interacted with people from all round the world. Stories they shared with me of their experiences of living and creating a home for themselves and their families in a new country, inspired me to find my passion and to live my dreams.

My chance to live my dream became a reality early in 2016. I had worked for multinational companies in the financial industry but couldn't quite find a fit in these companies outside of my own country, America. An avid networker, I gave a good bit of thought as to how to leverage my contacts to find or create an opportunity to make my dream a reality. I tweaked my profile title on LinkedIn, and began to share my dream with people every chance I got. Low and behold, making my interest and desires known, I was soon recruited for a position with EF! Absolutely every single person I conferred with about EF and teaching ESL, gave me great feedback on valuable experiences they had working with EF. Then I remembered many years previous, my family had hosted a young man from Spain who was traveling on an exchange program with EF.

So I took a chance to put living my dream in to motion. I had great encouragement from my friends and family and especially from my two grown daughters. The tables were turned and they asked me what I most wanted to do at this moment in my life, and they told me I should absolutely do it! They reminded me, as I remind them, that, “we can always come home, so go out and see the world, mom!”

I was recruited the end of April of 2016. I interviewed and accepted a position within a short two weeks, my work documents and visa were approved within the following month, and then the approval of my documents in China was complete the middle of June. I traveled by train to see friends and family and to say farewell. Before I knew it, I was in China by the middle of August, a mere four months to set living my dream in motion!

It has been two years and a couple of months for me now working and living in community here in China. I began in the middle of the country in Henan province, and then made a change and a move to Zhejiang province in Southeast China where I have been for a bit over a year now. Settling in has had its challenges - it's not a week or two of sightseeing, it is living full-on with new people in a new world where processes for everyday living are new, and work life and the way business is conducted is new and different as well. And, well, to say it plainly, here I was for the first time in a very long time, living by myself, without anything familiar at all.

Mostly what I have found with all the differences in language and customs, with currency and processes, is that we are all basically the same. Every day, all over the world, families get up, get themselves together to face the day. We make our way in this world looking for a good and better life for ourselves and our family, and it is the same here in China. I am grateful for the encouragement and the courage to live a dream. In the process, I have found my passion for sharing and teaching a common language. I am learning more about myself and new things every day. Life is good for me, as I find my way living a dream.


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