Teacher Stories: The 7 Year Challenge

Hioffer spoke with ESL Teacher John Paul for a little insight as to his time living, working, and traveling around China. The more one learns about this country, the more fascinated one becomes with it. ~Hioffer Manager


Where did you stay in China?

I was in Shanghai, the country’s biggest city and a global financial hub.

How long did you stay there?

I lived there for 7 years.

Give me two words that best describe China.

Growing country.

Shanghai 1

What is there to do in the city?

I spent most of my time shopping, sightseeing, and visiting old temple.

What is the cost of living like?

In general, living in a city like Shanghai will be more expensive than in a smaller town of course. You will find the food very cheap, but the housing is expensive.

What did you find the most interesting?

The most interesting I found was that in a huge city there were parks everywhere!

What did you find the most challenging?

Like most people arriving in China…the language. I couldn’t speak anything when I arrived so doing simple things like getting a taxi and going to the market was difficult. Taxi drivers don’t know how to speak English and at the market everyone speaks Chinese. Learn a few phrases before you go.

Tell me about the best experience you had with your students.JP 7

That’s easy.  The best experience I had with my kids was when they were able to read and understand English.

Tell me about the best experience you had with your colleagues.

It was such a relief when they helped and assisted me every time when I needed a translation. Whew!

What was the greatest lesson you learned while living in China?

We should be more open-minded so that we’ll understand each other’s differences.  Working there widened my cross-cultural understanding.

Would you recommend China as a good place for aspiring English teachers?

This, hands down, is a big YES, definitely!

Would you go back to live and work again?


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If you are ready to experience what it is like to teach English in China, take a look at our video of the 6 reasons you should move to China and contact us for more information about teaching, moving, and living in China.

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