I know I’ve only been home for several weeks, and while the most visible effects of reverse culture shock have dissipated (it’s real, folks), I couldn’t help looking into job prospects again. And the process went much faster than expected.
Some of you know I applied to graduate school while I was in Thailand, and planned to attend Colorado State University this August. But, in an attempt to have my cake and eat it too, I’ve decided to travel for another year before I settle into a two-year commitment. I’m also hopeful that my experience abroad will give me the experience I need to qualify for a position as a teaching assistant when I do begin CSU in Fall 2013.
So China, here I come!
While I’ll be teaching in a rural community, the similarities to my time in Thailand stop there. I’m going to teach at Guangdong Peizheng College in the southeastern part of the country where, instead of an eight-hour bus ride to a city with millions (Bangkok), I’ll only be an hour from Guangzhou, one of China’s largest (and that’s no small feat in a country with over 1.3 billion people).
Instead of 50 kids per class, I’ll have only 20. And, instead of high schoolers throwing chairs and beating each other with brooms in the back of the room, making me an angry teacher, my new students are paying money to further their education at a private university. Still, they might not actually enjoy learning English, but I’ve been (almost) guaranteed by Ms. Sally at Unbrave Girl that I won’t have any discipline problems (or at least they won’t be running around the classroom like hellions!).
Instead of a 14-20 hour train ride from one main city to the next, I can simply board a bullet train to shoot me across the country in less than half that time. While I already miss the convenience of my scooter, I’ll be able to walk to school, and a bus system is in place to take me wherever I want to go.
This time, I’m not working with an agency – I’m signing directly with the school, which means no backup safety net, but better benefits and more time off (six weeks in January and February – paid!). I’ll have an apartment, provided by the school, with a couch and space for visitors (hint, hint). Plus, I’m only three hours from Hong Kong and the school owns a crash pad for professors to use on weekends!
While it seems I’m lot less stressed for this adventure (I won’t be packing along half-finished applications with looming deadlines, that’s for sure) and a bit more prepared than I was before I left for Thailand, it might be because of my since-developed appreciation for the unexpected – the way of life for a foreigner in Asia – which is really to say I might not be prepared at all.
I was, after all, guaranteed a teaching position on a beach in southern Thailand, but found myself in the northeast. I was promised a co-teacher to translate and, in reality, the only time a co-worker stepped foot in my classroom was on my first day (to shove me in front of students and wish me luck).
In hindsight, however, I lived the exact experience I had dreamed of, and thus, my mind is even more open now to the vast, unknown possibilities The Middle Kingdom presents.
So, who’s coming to visit?
- Thailand wants 10,000 Chinese teachers (wantchinatimes.com)