Some of the difficulties you’ll face while teaching in China will be unique to you, but others will be challenges common to every teacher. Here are some challenges you may face, as well as best practices to overcome them (tried and true by former teachers!).
What I learned while teaching abroad.
This post has given you a better understanding of your role as an AYC English teacher and what you should expect next year in the classroom.
Here's a collection of information, answers to common questions, important links, and more for new AYCers to refer to as they prepare for their stay in China.
A benefit of working in China is that your income won't be taxed! Here's how to file.
Sometimes plans don’t always go the way you would have expected. That’s how my story begins.
These members of Congress lauded this year’s educational ambassadors for their leadership, commitment to service, and commitment to building mutual understanding and strengthening people-to-people relations between the United States and China.
How do you balance your packing list by packing light and bringing over important items?
A clear theme emerged from several speeches, an informative panel discussion, and many lively dinner conversations: The AYC experience is life changing.
AYC is succeeding in its goal to provide a forum for meaningful exchange between Chinese and Western youth. It is exactly this understanding from one-on-one interaction and education that will improve relations between countries and nations in our increasingly globalized world.
June 15-19, we have our final lessons. Some classes were easy to say good-bye, but I had trouble closing the lesson with the students, and some students didn’t even want to leave the classroom.
AYC Educational Ambassadors Ethan Martinez and Caitlin Simcik ventured to Yunnan for Spring Festival. We just had to share their incredible footage.
To the Chinese, there are three important meanings behind the Mid-Autumn Festival: 1) gathering, as family and friends reunite to celebrate, 2) thanksgiving, to appreciate the life-giving harvest, and 3) prayer, in order to bestow both blessings and good fortune upon parents, babies, and lovers.
So, now you’ve been in China for about two weeks and you’ve had an inordinate amount of cafeteria food plus one or two lavish feasts at your new school. Where do you go from here? Well, if you want to cut your chops on the diverse cuisines that make up “Chinese food”, you should take a look at China’s Yelp: Dianping. If you don’t want to throw your gastronomical dreams to the winds of fate and your late night strolls around town, check out this site.
For those of you who aren’t quite ready to navigate a website entirely in Chinese, these two guides will help you get where you want to go.
This year was a long one, but many of the awesome AYC participants have finished out their academic year! The above collage only showcases a few of the 150+ teachers spread throughout China with their students. Many have already left for their next journey, others are teaching farther into the summer, but one thing remains true: AYC is immensely proud of it’s inaugural class of Ameson Year in China!
Salute — the AYC Class of 2013-2014!
Have you ever mused over the possible deep meaning of the choice English names your students chose? Have you ever wondered why your Chinese name sounds really strange when translated into English? Well below is an introduction to some of the more interesting naming practices.
- How many names?: Historically, socially enfranchised individuals could have different names at different stages of their life and stylized versions of them for different uses. Sun Yat-Sen, the founding father of the Chinese Republic, had eight, not including a large number of pseudonyms used while in hiding.
- 1, 2, or 3?: In traditional China there was a strong emphasis on having as many children as possible. This led to some pretty large numbers of children that could sometimes be hard to keep track of. Enter the numbers. Using a number after a name indicates the individual’s position in line; in the case of Su Forty-Three, a famous rebel in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) who seems to be pretty far down the list. A common usage today is referring to oneself relative to one’s brothers and sisters. The third child in a family would be called “old three.”
- You want me to be what?: In China, names express a parents desire for a child or describe characteristics the child may have. In rural settings, embarrassing physical features or associations are common. If a child doesn’t turn out just as the parents wanted, they may keep the name they planned on anyway. A tragic young male character in “The World” by director Jia Zhangke goes by the name “Maiden Number Two” because his parents had hoped that their second child would be a girl.
“I don’t think the magic has died down, really. Everywhere I go on campus, someone will run up to me and ask me how I am or say good afternoon. Many students are not afraid to just come up and ask me random questions, like, “Where are you from?” or “Do you have a boyfriend?”
Proposed in 1934 by geographer Hu Huanyong, the Heihe-Tengchong line is not China’s newest highspeed rail line, but an interesting artifact of human geography. This line divides China roughly into two halves in terms of geographic area (57% to the West, 43% to the East), but nearly all the population - a whopping 94% - resides to the East of the line.
Impressive though these numbers may be, what’s perhaps more impressive is that despite having a population density lower than all but 27 countries, the western half of China would still be the 16th largest country in the world by population, just below Germany.
As you can see from the map, China’s population density is highly concentrated between the Yellow River (黄河） to the north and the Yang-tze River (长江）to the Souh, as well as along the coast. The large red spot just east of the line represents a very fertile agricultural area sometimes referred to as “China’s breadbasket” and includes the megacities Chengdu and Chongqing. Most of China’s West is arid, high up in the mountains, or both, making it difficult to sustain dense populations.