I’m Going to China!

Teacher Jess has officially become Professor Jess. Yep, I’ve just accepted a university teaching position in China!

I know I’ve only been home for several weeks, and while the most visible effects of reverse culture shock have dissipated (it’s real, folks), I couldn’t help looking into job prospects again. And the process went much faster than expected.

Some of you know I applied to graduate school while I was in Thailand, and planned to attend Colorado State University this August. But, in an attempt to have my cake and eat it too, I’ve decided to travel for another year before I settle into a two-year commitment. I’m also hopeful that my experience abroad will give me the experience I need to qualify for a position as a teaching assistant when I do begin CSU in Fall 2013.

So China, here I come!

Photo of my new school, courtesy of the college.

While I’ll be teaching in a rural community, the similarities to my time in Thailand stop there. I’m going to teach at a university in the southeastern part of the country where instead of an eight-hour bus ride to a city with millions (Bangkok), I’ll only be an hour from Guangzhou, one of China’s largest (and that’s no small feat in a country with over 1.3 billion people).

Instead of 50 kids per class, I’ll have only 20. And, instead of high schoolers throwing chairs and beating each other with brooms in the back of the room, making me an angry teacher, my new students are paying money to further their education at a private university. Still, they might not actually enjoy learning English, but I’ve been (almost) guaranteed by Ms. Sally at Unbrave Girl that I won’t have any discipline problems (or at least they won’t be running around the classroom like hellions!).

Instead of a 14-20 hour train ride from one main city to the next, I can simply board a bullet train to shoot me across the country in less than half that time. While I already miss the convenience of my scooter, I’ll be able to walk to school, and a bus system is in place to take me wherever I want to go.

This time, I’m not working with an agency – I’m signing directly with the school, which means no backup safety net, but better benefits and more time off (six weeks in January and February – paid!). I’ll have an apartment, provided by the school, with a couch and space for visitors (hint, hint). Plus, I’m only three hours from Hong Kong and the school owns a crash pad for professors to use on weekends!

While it seems I’m a lot less stressed for this adventure (I will be a much smarter packer with packing tips like these and won’t be packing along half-finished applications with looming deadlines, that’s for sure) and a bit more prepared than I was before I left for Thailand, it might be because of my since-developed appreciation for the unexpected – the way of life for a foreigner in Asia – which is really to say I might not be prepared at all.

I was, after all, guaranteed a teaching position on a beach in southern Thailand, but found myself in the northeast. I was promised a co-teacher to translate and, in reality, the only time a co-worker stepped foot in my classroom was on my first day (to shove me in front of students and wish me luck).

In hindsight, however, I lived the exact experience I had dreamed of, and thus, my mind is even more open now to the vast, unknown possibilities The Middle Kingdom presents.

So, who’s coming to visit?

Photo of Guangzhou City, courtesy of Comfort Travel.

I’m Going to China
Written by:Jessica J. Hill


  1. Edna says:

    Oh I’m so excited to follow along on your adventures! I’ve got a great love for China and used to teach English myself, so can’t wait to see what you think of the country and the job. You’re in for a crazy (but fun) year!

  2. shaheena82 says:

    glad you finally decided on a country and looking forward to following your adventures

  3. Ashley says:

    It sounds like after your situation in Thailand that China will be a breeze! I loved my two years of teaching at a university in China. Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to help!

  4. Michelle says:

    I’ll be there!!!! YAY! So happy you took this! Can’t wait to see you…..in CHINA!

    • jessicajhill says:

      Wahoo!! So glad you guys are going to schedule me in on your amazing adventures. I hope you’ll keep up Mish Lovin’ Life while you’re traveling. Catch you on the other side!

  5. Rachell says:

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventure!! Lot’s of luck to you!!

  6. Welcome to Guangzhou. It’ll be challenging in different ways to Thailand (from what I know about Thailand, that is), hope you enjoy it!

  7. Jordan says:

    Glad to hear to hear you’re coming to China. I’m in Dalian, in the North East, but want to get down south soon. The unexpected and last minute changes definitely make things interesting. Your set up with the school sounds similar to mine–hope all goes well! I kept a blog on here before that talks about some of my experiences, but I haven’t updated in a while. It’s http://www.ourchinaexperiment.wordpress.com ….if you wanna check it out.

  8. That’s so exciting! All the best for your next move!! Looking forward to reading about it.

  9. torimcrae says:

    Jessica, Congratulations on your new teaching position. What a wonderful way to see the world–spending quality time in one place long enough to really absorb the culture and get to know the people and, hopefully, make friends. Thanks for stopping by my blog (http://torimcrae.wordpress.com,) and choosing to follow the posts. I hope you’ll occasionally allow me to repost something from your adventures on my blog.
    Tori McRae

    • jessicajhill says:

      Thank you! I’m really excited about this new adventure. I’m looking forward to following your stories about life and writing as well. Of course, I’d be flattered if you choose to re-blog my posts! Cheers.

  10. Emma says:

    Hi Jessica,
    I am excited to read about your adventures in China! I’ve really enjoyed your posts on Thailand. Have you ever read Lost on Planet China, by J. Maarten Troost? I just wanted to say hi and let you know how much fun it is to read your work, but it kind of feeds the travel bug within me 🙂 Good luck on your next adventure,

    • jessicajhill says:

      Hi Emma – Thanks so much for following along. I’m so glad to hear I can feed your travel bug with my writing 😉 I did recently finish “Lost on Planet China” and thought it was a witty and informative read. I’m getting ready to start Wild Swans, which is a little old but I’m having trouble finding more recent writings. Do you have any other recommendations?

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