I expected there to be a lot more Americans in the program, but there were only a few. It was a pretty good mix of cultures among the people, so it was exciting getting to know everyone while taking the TEFL course. We learned about Chinese culture together in Beijing. I can only describe that experience as amazing. It was refreshing to have people around me that were uncertain with their futures. They just wanted exposure to the world. The city was incredible, the sights were beautiful, and the food was delicious. The course was extremely helpful. By the time we got to the teacher practice, I was nervous but prepared. I just had to jump in. (I also quite literally jumped into a freezing lake during one of the tour days for reasons I still don’t fully comprehend). I made lifelong friends doing this program and learned so much about myself. It was very sad when we had to split up to go to our placements, but I know that I did the right thing coming to China.
Pictures of Jack Jumping into the freezing Houhai Lake in Beijing!
Being a teaching intern in China is extremely rewarding. It has its many challenges, such as huge class sizes, language barriers, long hours of planning, and classroom management. But even with all those things, I am proud of myself after every single day. I know that I made a difference in someone’s life. It is heartwarming when your students cheer when you walk into class, or shout your name when they see you around town. I’m not sure if I want to be a teacher for the rest of my life, but it has opened my eyes in the sense that I’m aware of so many more opportunities than the ones I thought possible.
Picture of Jack with His Students in Guangdong
Guangdong is a great place to live. I struggle sometimes with the heat and the humidity, but nice weather has its perks. It is very green here, and nature is incorporated into the city structures. I love that. Also, there are lots of great people here. The foreigners are all happy to help you with anything you need or just hang out with you. I’ve met lots of wonderful people since I moved here, and it really is like a community. We have WeChat groups and organize events. It makes you forget about any homesickness you might have.
Overall coming to China to be an English teaching intern was the best decision I’ve ever made. It has permanently changed my life and my outlook on the world. The future isn’t scary anymore; it’s rich with life and possibility. I’m very happy.
John Wilson Davis Junior, a current teaching intern from Teach & Travel China Program Winter 2016 Intake, was placed in Guangdong; a student from University of Wisconsin.