Before Coming to China
Why did you want to teach in China?
I had just finished a teaching contract in Vietnam. Having been there for 2 years I decided I wanted a change of scene. I knew I enjoyed living in Asia, and China seemed like a good next step so I choose Shanghai city.
How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
Finding a job with On the Mark was very easy. Within days of sending my CV and paperwork over, I had an interview set up with the company I ultimately signed a contract with. I had a few interviews with different companies so I could really weigh out my options and decide what would be best for me.
How long did it take to get your visa? How was the communication with the school during the visa process?
It took a couple of months to get my visa. There are a lot of steps and loops to jump through, not from the schools side, but from the government departments I was dealing with. However the school were very helpful and I was kept updated and informed, so even though it took a while it always felt under control.
What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I used skyscanner to book my flight.
Teaching Life in China
What was your first impression of Shanghai upon arrival?
My first impression of Shanghai was busy, but exciting. There is always something interesting to see, smell, buy or do. The rush hour crowds are pretty intense but you do get used to being crammed in on the metro!
What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
The not queuing. Chinese people don’t queue for things. It seems quite acceptable to barge people out of the way to get on the metro. I was standing waiting to pay at a supermarket and an old lady just stepped in front of me and put her stuff in front of mine. It funny getting your head round how people’s minds work so differently!
What’s your favorite memory of life in China?
My favorite memory so far of living in China happened over the mid Autumn festival. My elderly Chinese neighbors insisted that myself and my boyfriend join them for their Mid Autumn festival meal. They speak a very small amount of English and we have only a small amount of beginners Chinese, but we sat and ate homemade dumplings and sipped vodka from eggcups for a few hours together. The vodka definitely helped the language barrier and the food was delicious. It made us feel like we had come a long way since we had first arrived in China.
What do you like most about working for your school?
I really like the hours I work. 5pm – 8pm weekdays and then all day on the weekends. It gives me a lot of free time to explore Shanghai and visit other places.
What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
1. I wish I had bought more blonde hair dye with me! Not easy to find.
2. Buying simple medicines, like painkillers, is difficult. I wish I had bought more with me.
3. Download a VPN before arriving! I know I would need one, but for some reason didn’t do it beforehand. It took me a while going through the back routes to download and set up a VPN on all my devices. It’s a hassle that can and should be avoided!
Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save each month?
I am able to save money every month teaching in China. It would be easy to spend your whole salary in Shanghai, but if you want to save money then it is very possible to set a budget and still enjoy yourself.