Why go to a country which is 4,831 miles from home? Why go to a country where I can’t speak the language? Why go to a country which I know nothing about? Why not just teach in Europe?
These are all questions which I kept asking myself, and others asked me, before I arrived in China. I became a nervous wreck. But since living and teaching in China for 4 months, I have come to realise how amazing China is. This post aims to share 4 main reasons why despite being 4,831 miles from home, China is a place you need to come, teach and experience too.
China has such a diverse and rich history, which dates back to THOUSANDS of years ago, which can still be experienced today. So if you have a keen interest in history- China is the place for you! I had the pleasure of visiting two of the most well-known ancient tourist attractions: The Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors
The Great Wall of China was constructed more than 2,000 years ago, full of history, and for sure is not a disappointment. Although, a tiring and very sweaty trek, the experience was out of this world! No wonder why I trekked up the Great Wall twice since being here! Not many people can say they’ve visited the new 7 wonders of the world (and twice!)
If a steep trek up the Great Wall of China isn’t your cup of tea, maybe a trip to see the Terracotta Army maybe might take your fancy? These life-size sculptures represent the armies of the first Emperor of China, constructed over 2,200 years ago! Not many people can say they’ve seen the Terracotta Army beyond the screen of the TV- one of the BEST experiences I’ve had in China so far!
China is one of the largest countries in the world, so whether you wish to explore a traditional Chinese town, a mountainous landscape, skyscrapers or a sandy beach – China for sure will not disappoint.
Houhai, an area surrounding a lake combines both the modern and the ancient, and is a MUST-DO visit in Beijing…or like me, a must-do visit more than once! The hutongs, the traditional Chinese alleys, selling unique gifts and foods (in particular, my favourite traditional Chinese fan shop), as well as the Drum and Bell towers are a must-see. AND Houhai comes alive at night, with PLENTY OF BARS and a cheap Jamaican bar selling strong, good and CHEAP cocktails!
China also has a lot of mountains to trek; I took a sweaty trek up Mt. Panshan, in Tianjin, with its pine trees, ancient temples and most importantly AMAZING views!
Another great experience from living in China is trekking Mt. Cuihua, in Xi’an, with not only AMAZING views, but a waterfall and more IMPORTANTLY a slide!
Incredible (and CHEAP) Food
Before I came to China, I was expecting to be eating lots of sweet and sour chicken balls and egg fried rice, but trust me…it’s nothing like a Chinese take-away from home.
China has some of the most amazing food markets; the Night Market on Wangfujing street is a MUST-DO! From more tasty foods to more exotic, adventurous finds like seahorses and alive scorpions- there is something for everyone!
Another well-known and bustling food market is the Muslim Quarter, in Xi’an. Only problem you’ll have here is deciding what food to eat, because there’s so much choice! A must-try dish is the roujiamo: marinated lamb in a bun- worth the queue!
If you’re a lover for sea-food, like I am, China is the place for you! China’s sea-food tastes amazing and is so cheap. In the majority of restaurants, you see and can pick the sea-food which you want for your dinner (so at least you know it’s fresh!)
Chinese people on the whole LOVE Westerners; everyone wants to be friends with you! I’ve been invited to wine-tasting events and KTV with some of the locals! Expect LOTS of photos with the locals and asked for your WeChat all the time (so make sure you download WeChat before arriving to China!)
So, why China? To create some life-time memories in a country which offers something for everyone!
Georgina Muir is on a 5 month internship teaching English in China. To find out more about our Teaching Program, please click here.