In my last blog entry, I mentioned that I spent part of last year living in China. I love talking with others about China and sharing my experiences. Recently, I’ve had several classmates ask me about my time abroad, so I decided that an entry about China was overdue.
After graduating from Clemson University in 2009, I decided to take a year off before starting graduate school. Originally, I wanted to spend a year in Spain (where I studied abroad my sophomore year), possibly teaching English. One of my friends from Clemson, who was also looking into a gap-year activity, mentioned that it would be much easier to find a job in Asia, where there is a high demand for English teachers. After doing quite a bit of research online and speaking with the International Department at Clemson, I decided on a job at Nantong University, in Jiangsu, China.
At Nantong University I taught three courses, Writing, Speaking, and Journal & Periodical Writing, to sophomores and juniors. I had an amazing group of students who were eager to learn about the English language and were fascinated with American culture. I was free to make my own lesson plans, which allowed me to create fun and unique activities. Occasionally, I would show an American movie and have my students act out an alternate ending. Sometimes we even played Catch Phrase!
Of course, not everything was amazing. I definitely paid a price for living in a country without knowing the native language. Problems with language barriers ranged from “accidentally” getting my hair died pink to living in China “illegally” (but it was less than a day…) and consequently, having to write an apology note to the government.
I learned so much about Chinese culture and am grateful that I can continue to learn more about it at The Ohio State University. I have made so many friends from China at the Fisher College of Business and love reminiscing with them about my adventures. I feel lucky I to attend a university with such a rich culture!