My 2-week blogging hiatus is over. I picked up my Chinese work (Z) visa this morning and I leave for China on Friday. My home for the next year is… Rizhao, China! Sorry I waited so long to announce this. I just wanted to have everything lined up before I posted my next whereabouts.
I’d been searching for a job in the People’s Republic of China since late July and found viable options for employment and visa sponsorship all over the country. Most opportunities I came across were in smoggy cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Other offers for employment were in the far northern regions of China where the winters rival Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures.
A New Home
I found an english language training center in the Shandong province in a city called Rizhao. After some research, I decided that this city would be the perfect place to commit to a one-year teaching contract in China.
Rizhao, China is located on the far east coast of the Yellow Sea, so it’s one of the first Chinese cities to see the sunrise. In fact, the name of the city literally means “sunshine.” With 100 kilometers of beaches on the coastline, it looks like a stunningly beautiful city.
For me, a concern when searching for a place to live in China is air pollution. I want to live in a Chinese city, but I don’t want to destroy my lungs. This is what really got my attention with Rizhao. It is consistently listed in the top 10 cities for air quality in China.
The city is renowned for its sustainability and use of renewable energy. Rizhao mandates the installation of solar panels on all new buildings. As of 2007, 99% of households in the city’s central district use solar water heaters, and almost all the city’s traffic lights are powered by the sun.
Until recently I had never heard of Rizhao. By Chinese standards, it’s a small city. But by USA standards, with a population just south of 3 million people, it’s about the same size as Chicago.
A New Job
Old job: Teacher at a high school in rural Thailand. Classes of 40-50 students with no air-conditioning and very little Thai teaching assistance.
New job: Teacher at a language center in a Chinese city. Classes of 5-20 students in an air-conditioned room with a Chinese teaching assistant always present. I will teach business english during the week, and children on the weekend, with two consecutive days off during the week.
My employer: English First (EF), a large reputable company with language centers all over China. I will sign a one-year teaching contract with EF Rizhao that includes ample benefits like paid airfare, vacation, visa sponsorship and free Chinese language courses.
A New Culture
The Thailand menu at the top of my site is loaded with articles about Thai culture, teaching ESL and funny stories. Now it’s time to install a new menu: China. I’m really looking forward to being introduced to Chinese culture and feeling inspired to produce new content.
The most exciting part of moving to Thailand was experiencing the culture shock. With that shock comes an unparalleled feeling of aliveness and a desire to share that feeling with others. I’ll miss Thailand and the uncomplicated life I lived in a small rural town, but I can’t wait to immerse myself in a new city in a totally foreign country.
A New Language
My employer offers free Chinese language courses for any teachers interested in learning Mandarin. I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that.
A New Government
The People’s Republic of China is a communist state, and I’m very curious to experience life in communist society first-hand. I will have to be careful about what I publish in this site from now on due to the presence of the Chinese internet police.
My favorite part of blogging is experiencing and writing about foreign culture. I’ll have plenty to say about Chinese culture soon, but certain opinions on governmental policies, news and events should probably be kept to myself.
A New Chapter
My plane lands in China on Friday and I begin my next adventure.
It’s been great, but now it’s time to leave the Land of Smiles. Goodbye Thailand, hello China.