No local language skills? No problem. It’s never too late to start learning a foreign language. Living abroad will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new language and culture. With an open mind and a willingness to learn, you could even become fluent. However, even if you aren’t looking to become fluent in the local language of your host country - or maybe learning languages simply isn’t your ‘cup of tea’ - I definitely recommend learning at least some survival level language skills to get around in your host country. It will help you with your initial adaption to a new culture, your daily life, and will enable you to connect and engage in your local community.
Recently, I had the joy of visiting Xian: home of the renowned Terracotta Warriors. This city captivated me with its centuries of history and unique cityscape. Upon visiting, I realized that while the Warriors are the primary draw which brings tourists to the city, Xian in of itself has a lot to offer in terms of Chinese cultures for foreigners and Chinese nationals alike.
In China, everything you could possibly wish to do can be done using your smart phone. Therefore, having the right mobile apps can be a life saver if you want to experience life in China conveniently, and can help you to get around efficiently. I can recall countless different occasions when having the right mobile app helped me to bridge the language barrier and prevented me from getting lost in a new city. In this way, I can honestly say that having the essential mobile apps and a decent cellphone is crucial for life teaching English in China.
Suzhou has been toted as the “Venice of the East” for its sprawling canals, and once surpassed Shanghai in terms of trade and economic development. It is a center of ancient Chinese art and culture, and whilst sauntering along its ancient alleyways and its grand canals, one receives a glimpse of ancient China. Suzhou should definitely not be overlooked when deciding where to teach English in China.
By: Jessica Addington
I have always been a “pleaser” as my family lovingly calls me. I am the mediator. I am the happy camper. The person who makes sure that everyone is doing fine and dandy at the expense of my own wants and needs. I have always been that way, and most of the time I see it as a good quality, one that should be appreciated because I want to contribute to others’ happiness and well being. It is part of who I am. However, as I have gotten older and a little bit wiser, and especially since traveling abroad, I have realized that this is a quality that is not always a good thing. I realized that I was not speaking up for myself and what I wanted. I was not putting myself first. That all began to change when I went to teach English abroad in China.
By: Allen Bryson
It was the first day of class at the International TEFL Academy and I was a bit nervous.
Was it because I felt it would be hard?
Was it because I wasn’t sure if I was ready?
No, none of the above. It was because our clothes washing machine was broken and I could not clean my lucky Pokémon socks with Pikachu heads all around it. I knew it was going to be a long day.
Returning Home and Back Again: Take Two on Traveling Abroad
By: Amanda Martin
I can honestly say that making the decision to move abroad and teach was the best choice I have ever made in my life. I am a completely different person now than I was before I got on that plane to head for China that first year. It has made me a better person and a better citizen of the world. I have experienced so many things, seen so many beautiful places, and questioned many things along the way. Little did I know when I was first signing up for the online TEFL course with the International TEFL Academy how big of an impact this journey would have on my life.
By: Chelseigh Robinson
To say that teaching abroad changed my life would be a huge understatement. I think that it has become the single largest determining factor as to how I’m going to live my life and what kind of person I am going to be. For a long time, I wanted to travel. I never understood why more people didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we have in this day and age to travel and live in another country. I studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, while earning my degree, which is the place where I decided that I definitely wanted to live overseas. However, at that time, I was unsure of a practical way to do it. When I began to research ways to do this, I found International TEFL Academy. I decided to take the jump and signed up for their online course so I could finish my degree and my certification at the same time. After I got married, I flew to China and have loved life ever since.
By: Kiran Bhat
I moved to China quite randomly. Due to family pressure to do something that earned more, I had decided to quit my job teaching online, but I still wanted to pursue a life lived globally. Shanghai is considered to be one of the rising cities of the world, and I had visited China in 2013 for a month and had fallen in love with the city during that time. I thought if there was a place with work that paid well, but also the grit and the edge that made a place feel like home, Shanghai would be a good match.
By: Gretchen Torrence
My time teaching English in China has been magical. There is no other word for it. Since I arrived in August of 2016, I have mastered driving a scooter (there are few lanes or rules; this is a major accomplishment), been a murder victim (It was at a birthday party. I assure you I left unscathed), climbed a waterfall, biked in the mountains, floated on a bamboo boat, sung KTV with my students, eaten some of the best food I have ever tasted, attended a Chinese Halloween party, and had a profound teaching moment where I knew I changed a student’s life for the better. It has been rewarding beyond all measure.