Hangzhou by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

“So why China?”

Hangzhou by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m shortly moving to China. It’s something I get a lot of questions about so I thought I’d write a blog post about it. If there’s anything I don’t cover that you’d like to know, feel free to ask!

What will you be doing in China?

I’ll be teaching Early Years, which is the same as I do now. I’ll be teaching in a bilingual school. I’ll be teaching in English and will have a co-teacher who will teach in Mandarin.

Will you learn the language?

The city I’m moving to is Mandarin-speaking. I’ve been learning some words via an app, but I will take lessons when I’m there because I’m interested to. It’s not a requirement and lots of foreigners don’t.

What prompted you to make the move?

I decided in September/October that I would like to go abroad for my next teaching job. I’ve always wanted to do it but it has always been put off for one reason or another. My initial plan was to find one for January 2018, but then I was asked if I would continue in my current role (a maternity cover position) until the end of the school year as the woman on maternity had decided not to return to work. I was really pleased to be asked as I love the school, plus it gave me a bit longer to do some research.

The international recruitment period starts in about December, so I started to keep a look out for jobs that sounded right. One consideration for us is that I need to earn a good wage as there’s a chance I will need to support both of us as we don’t know what work Simon would do abroad. For this reason, the Middle East seemed a good option so I applied for a few jobs. Christmas came and went and I was starting to feel a bit disheartened that I hadn’t had any offers of interviews but we’ll come back to that!! In January, I was invited to go to London for an interview for a school in Dubai. I was really excited that this might really be happening!

I also saw an advert for an open day at a school in Berkshire which was the parent school of a new school opening in China. I decided to go along and find out some more. To cut a long story short, the Chinese School sounded an absolute dream school for me as the Early Years setting fits exactly my philosophy, so that is the job I accepted and I withdrew from the recruitment process at the other school. To be part of the team in a brand new school is incredibly exciting.

And to return to the interview issue, I soon learnt that the cogs of recruitment turn much more slowly for international schools than they do for UK schools. I had assumed that if I had been shortlisted, I would hear within a day or two of the closing date but this wasn’t the case. Some I heard back from several weeks later and in fact I got about 10 interview offers in the end, so if you’re in my position, don’t let the wait get you down! It was really reassuring to be invited to several interviews but I didn’t waver in my commitment to my new school as I feel it’s the perfect fit.

What will your husband do?

Because we’re thinking with our heads rather than our hearts, my husband is going to stay in the UK until January or February 2019. This will mean we can pay off our debts much more quickly and then to start saving and travelling during school holidays etc. When he moves, he’s going to either work freelance or be a kept man!

What about your house? And Bobby?

When Simon moves over, the plan is for my friend Lyzi to come and house sit for us. Bobby loves her and having a friend in the house means we know it will be looked after, plus we will have somewhere to stay when we come back to the UK for holidays.

Where are you going in China?

The city is called Hangzhou (pronounced Hang-Joe) which is an hour from Shanghai. You can read more about Hangzhou here. One saying about Hangzhou is that “above there is heaven, below is Hangzhou” ie ‘it’s heaven on Earth’!

How long are you going for?

My initial contract is for two years, but all being well, we have no plans to permanently return to the UK any time soon.

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