I showed up in China fresh out of university ready to start teaching debate. I had never been to China before, or anywhere else in Asia for that matter, so I knew that I was in for something new when I got off the plane in Beijing. Moving abroad is never easy, and that’s especially true when you’re moving into a new language and culture. My first year in China was full of challenges, especially given that halfway through we all got hit by the coronavirus. But I have to say that it has been worth it. China is an incredibly interesting place to live and work, and being a teacher offers so many wonderful opportunities to explore it.
The teacher lifestyle is generally pretty relaxing and fulfilling. Though there can be a lot of prep work, it’s more than made up for by the perks. I’ve traveled to about a dozen cities around China, from red western deserts to snow-covered fields across the northeast to tropical southern islands. Each place has its own distinct history, culture, and cuisine, and as I’ve developed more comfort and familiarity with Chinese language and culture I’ve been able to get a deeper sense of life in each place I visit. Salaries for expat teachers are perfectly comfortable, especially if you embrace a more local way of living.
I also deeply enjoy my work teaching. I was initially a little uncertain about it as a job as I’d never worked as a teacher before, but the kids really make it worth it. I have the opportunity to work with brilliant, hardworking, funny students every day. Some of them are pains who don’t study and just want to play on their phones in class, but usually the students are eager to learn. It is incredibly rewarding to help a student make a connection or discover a passion for something. I’ve enjoyed my time in China tremendously.
By: Nick Caputo