Suggestions to future students
Here I am sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting to fly to Calgary and after spending 2 months in China, I do not want to come home. The experience has been even more amazing then I thought it was going to be and I have learned so much about china, teaching and myself along the way. As a result, I will talk about some of the things I learned during my trip and things that I wish I would have learned before leaving for my trip.
- English speakers are far and few between- After traveling to many countries in the world I realized that almost everywhere you go you can get by using English for basic conversations and day to day life. However, this was not the case in China. It was rare to find somebody who spoke English which sometimes made it hard to communicate with people. Google translate is a MUST as it helped us deal with a lot of situations where English would not help
- Internet usage- The “Great firewall of China” sometimes made it extremely hard to get things done. Course readings were blocked by the government which meant that unless you were connected to a VPN you could not access them. I only downloaded two VPNs which I felt was not enough as they were often impossible to connect to. I would suggest downloading 5-10 different VPN apps for when your having a hard time connecting.
- Amazing food- China has some of the most amazing cuisine in the world which often came at a very reasonable price. You could easily find a meal for under 3$ and the food on campus was amazing. The university is known throughout the city for having amazing food and I can assure you this is right. The only struggle was sometimes using menus that had no English translations on them. We often ordered dishes that we had no idea what they were so anybody who is a picky eater might have a hard time with some of the meals.
- Learning mandarin across boarders- Although this program is called Teaching across boarders, I felt like this trip was more about learning a language. The teaching opportunities in china were very small and allowed us to be in the classroom for a maximum of 3 hours a week. Before I left, I was very excited to get into the classrooms and teach local students, however, most of the time spent here was in the 4 hours of language classes a day which unless you studied outside of class would be very hard to keep up with.
The trip was amazing and I know I will take this experience with me into my future teaching practice