After a delayed flight with a broken tv screen and lost luggage, my teach and travel experience could really only have improved. Nonetheless, I was not expecting to enjoy the training period so much. Especially considering days before my flight to Beijing I sat surrounded by my siblings comforting me as I was sobbing about leaving home for the first time.
To be honest, I was so anxious about struggling to adjust to the culture, new people, new work and after having had the support from the training I don’t even know what I was worried about. No question was ever a stupid question and all the answers were very honest.
Chinese culture and society functions very differently to what we are used to in the West. Nevertheless, in case you do question the cultural norms here, China does have a way of constantly reminding you of how epic it is. From the Great Wall of China to the Temple of Heaven and also the Forbidden City, you can be constantly mind blown!
The Tai chi, mandarin and calligraphy classes also gives you a greater appreciation for the many beautiful aspects of Chinese culture. All these experiences were incredible, but, wouldn’t have been half of what they were if it weren’t for the people with me. The managers and teachers are approachable and I genuinely loved hearing their experiences of China as well as their life in China. I learnt so much from every intern and am extremely proud to have been part of such a good group of people, all coming from hugely diverse backgrounds.
I was terrified of not really knowing a single person, but actually found it really liberating, as well as interesting to see the kind of person I am when nobody I know is around. Fortunately that person laughed a lot since I was surrounded by some of the funniest, intelligent and self-aware people I’ve ever met. These assets also made for some pretty incredible teachers, it was great seeing everyone interact with and educate young children.
I’m really looking forward to teaching English after my three days of practice in Beijing, although there were a few hiccups with snot and swearing involved, I can’t wait to meet more adorable Chinese kids and develop my skills as a teacher.
Anna Blackwell is a teaching intern from our Teach & Travel China program.