This is a guest post by Lauren Ferguson from Engaged Explorers.
So you’ve decided to move to China . . .
The time leading up to our big move to China was filled with uncertainty and doubt. How would we communicate with the locals? Where are we going to live? Are we cut out to be English teachers? The list goes on and on. However, we just passed the 6-week mark of our yearlong adventure in China and all those worries have subsided.
Shanghai, being the international city it is, has adapted to the influx of expats like us. Even though we don’t speak the language it is easy to see that most of the locals try to be personable and kind. There are exceptions to this, but our interactions have been overwhelmingly positive. On multiple occasions a complete stranger would step up and be a “translator” when the language barrier was too much to overcome.
Teaching English is a rewarding experience. The students are energetic and typically excited to learn. The Chinese teachers we work with have been wonderful resources for teaching techniques and bridging the gap between the students and us.
The time difference can make communication back home a trying task. Luckily, WeChat makes it easier by allowing texts, voice calls, video calls and even walkie-talkie sessions. Staying connected has given us the strength to get through the day-to-day halfway around the world.
Our last piece of advice for when you get to China is to seek out others in the same situation as you. Being able to talk to someone in China that is going through similar struggles is a great way to share advice and make your experience positive. There are going to be those days where you need a fellow foreigner to talk about the craziness of China. The people you meet and hang out with here in China will soon become a pseudo-family that you can lean on.
In July of 2014, we got our first taste of traveling together as we hopped a flight down to the Yucatan Peninsula for a week’s worth of beaches, sun, and too many Pina Coladas. Before we knew it, we were flying back to our regular lives in Lubbock, Texas…back to the real world. Fast forward 6 months and that longing for an adventure never receded. In December of 2014, we decided it was time for a change. Where do we move? Why not sell all our belongings, pack up the necessities and move to Shanghai! Follow Tyler and I at Engaged Explorers.