If you’re thinking about teaching English in China and you’re feeling apprehensive, don’t worry! Before I came to China, I had a few worries. The thought of leaving home comforts behind to enter the unknown left me a little apprehensive. I was also worried about what life would be like after teaching, would I teach again? Would I find a job? I took a risk, and it turns out there was nothing to worry about. Moving to China wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. But what about coming back?
Returning Home: What Happens Now?
Coming home after three years of teaching in China has been incredible. Friends and family visits are a weekly occurrence as opposed to yearly. I have a great job thanks to the skills I’ve gained abroad. And nature, it’s everywhere! Of course, I’m in the suburbs, so I’m sure if you’re moving back to a city, it’ll be less natural. Here are a few key takeaways after moving back to the states and some upcoming adventures, all possible thanks to my experience in China.
My resume is a commodity.
Putting that you lived in China for three years opens a lot of doors in a lot of industries. I gained a lot of tangible skills that apply to jobs outside of teaching. Customer orientation, building relationships and stress management are crucial to almost any position. Highlight those skills you’ve gained while in China & you’ll land a job back home in no time!
I understand everyone’s conversations
This is a pro and a con. No longer do I have to worry if people are making fun of my outfits or misunderstanding directions to the metro. However, I’ve learned recently that not being able to overhear most people’s conversations was a blessing in disguise. I forgot how dumb people can sound. Riding the metro in Boston, I frequently wonder – is this what people were talking about in China? Surely, they were cooler than this.
My family doesn’t really care about my adventures…
Trying to show photos of my hiking trip in Gongyu or doing silly jumps on the Great Wall have been met with apathy. *Sigh* I’ve tried countless times, but truthfully they don’t want to hear about how much fun I was having while I was away, and they were back home missing me – they are just happy I’m back!
But my friends DO care about my adventures
“What’s the craziest thing that happened to you?” “What’s China like?” “TELL. ME. EVERYTHING.” Friends are the ones who want to know the best and worst of your experiences in China. While you were away, they were working regular 9-5 jobs, and they want to live vicariously through you. Don’t skimp on the details – they’ll love all the romance, adventure and silliness that come with teaching abroad in China.
I miss China… a lot
Life in China was so easy. Restaurants are everywhere, my expat family was strong and we didn’t discuss politics. Back in the States, I frequently have to cook my own food (ugh), my friends are spread out among various cities and states, and American politics is making me pull my hair out. I’m sure I’ll go back to visit China soon, but I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. It was a wild adventure and I will always remember the great times I had…but now it’s on to the next!
Some things I have coming up in 2016:
Volunteering at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Moving to New York City
Possibly applying to the Peace Corps
Post by Dan Meyer, former EF English First Teacher in China