Teaching Abroad, China Edition
Ever wonder what it’s like to leave the comfortable surroundings of home and pack up everything teach abroad on the other side of the globe?
SI Global teacher Jonathan Roberts has accepted a position in China and is here to talk about all the preparation before heading on his adventure.
The summer is coming to an end, which means it’s time for international teachers to pack up and prepare for take off as we return to our overseas homes. My name is Jonathan Roberts, and I’ve been teaching internationally for well over a decade now. Despite my experience, however, I still feel a special kind of anticipation this time of year. In addition to all of the things that get teachers excited, like meeting my new students and planning the perfect syllabus, you have the added perk/challenge of a complete cultural shift to go with your change of scenery. In my case, I’ll be returning to Shanghai, China, one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world.
When packing for your overseas teaching position, you have to be very strategic. How much can I bring? What is easier for me to find there? What will be difficult to find there, if I can find it at all? Toothpaste? I’ll find that easy. Deodorant? Harder than you might think. Though baggage allowances vary, I always try to book a flight that permits two pieces of checked baggage. I use one for professional items, such as teaching clothes and any supplies I want to bring with me, and the other bag for personal items (or just everything else). Now how am I going to find room for me espresso maker . . .
Keep An Open Mind
The most important things to bring with you, however, are a positive attitude and an open mind. Yes, working abroad can be fun and exciting, but at times it will also be frustrating, confusing and lonely. If you let those negative elements stay in the forefront of your mind, they will weigh you down like boots made of concrete. To take your mind off of the negative, try your best to become involved in your new community, whether it’s through the expat scene (if you’ve made it there, other foreigners have too) or the local community. The effort that you put into building relationships in your new home will pay off in spades, trust me. The best part is, even after you leave, you’ll have friends there for life.
Thanks for reading this! Stay tuned for my next post, to be written shortly after I arrive in Shanghai next week. If you have any questions or things you’d like me to talk about, just let me know.