My name is Emily, I am 23 year old Canadian, recent graduate. I just moved to Shanghai, China to become an English teacher because: 1. I was having a hard time finding a job at home, 2. I love to travel, and 3. it was a great opportunity. I am starting this blog (as requested) to keep friends and family at home updated on my life here and travels.
“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” – John Green, Paper Towns
My friend Vicki sent me that quote when she found out I had decided to take the job and move to China. This quote sums me up pretty well right now which I think is why she picked it. After living in Italy on exchange for 10 months in university, the idea of living abroad and doing more travelling took root and grew. So once I graduated and had no job prospects at home it only seemed natural that when the opportunity arose to teach English abroad I should take it.
I am here with one of my best friends Katharina. We have been friends since grade 4, and despite going to different universities we have stayed close. Katharina and I have been through lots together including a 1 month backpacking trip in Europe 2 summers ago. We both love to travel and having new experiences, so when we both decided to take the TESOL course and teach abroad it only seemed logical to pick a place and go together. It was comforting for both us, and our families, that we would have each other to rely on in a new place on the other side of the world.
I arrived in Shanghai on September 11th, and had a crazy busy first few days with orientation and training at Pacican Academy (the company that hires and manages foreign English teachers in public schools all over Shanghai). As well as setting up a cell phone and a bank account, reviewing and resigning my contract etc. which was all made difficult due to the sever jetlag I was experiencing.
I also started apartment hunting right away because I wanted to live with a roommate so I was searching for ads online of people looking for a roommate. On a website Shanghaiexpats.com I found many potential apartments that I responded to but the first person that got back to me was an ad looking for a western, English speaking, female roommate between the ages of 20-40, all criteria that I fit. I went to see the apartment, (and a few others the next day but none that even compared) and decided on it almost immediately. So it all happened very fast which was what I needed. My apartment is small but cute and homey and the location can’t be beat. It is in the French Concession, Xu Hui district. It is very central and has lots of great restaurants, bars and shops around, plus a large international community. I am living with a Chinese girl named Becky who is very nice and lots of fun, and we get along really well so far. It is great having someone who speaks both English and Chinese to help me if I ever need translations or help with things here.
On Monday the 15th I went to see my schools, figure out how to get to them and meet the other teachers. Then on Tuesday morning I started teaching. I am teaching conversational English to grades 1-4 at 2 public schools in the Pudong district of Shanghai. The first morning I got kind of lost on my way to school so I was like 5 minutes late which meant that I was so concerned about being lost and just getting to the school that I didn’t have time to worry about how my first class would go, I just had to jump in. And it went really well! The kids had fun, my lesson plan worked out and overall the first day and first week teaching went great. I love the kids, they have been great, very enthusiastic and eager to learn. They are always excited to participate because my class is fun class where they get to play games and be silly. I have been very lucky as thus far and it has been going really well!
The other English teachers at my schools (Chinese women) are very nice and helpful! They have been taking such good care of me, walking me from class to class for my first few weeks and helping me get my lunch (both schools have a canteen where I get lunch for free!).
Since that first week things have continued moving very quickly. It is so hard to believe that I have been here for 3 weeks as of today. I’m finding that my life is starting to fall into a routine with school and lesson planning etc. which is good. I’ve been meeting lots of new people, which is always fun.
Yesterday was Chinese National Day, so we are on holidays for a week, which is great! But stories of how I spent my vacation time will have to wait for now.
Thanks for reading! Pictures to come soon!