Yes, you read the heading correctly. I'm moving to China. Door after door has flung wide open and my path has been illuminated brightly that this is to be where I begin the next season of my life.
Guangzhou, China (pictured above), aka Canton, because of the large Cantonese population there, is where I will be hanging my hat for the next year. Aside from my never having heard of Guangzhou before, and I'm guessing, unless you've spent some time in or around China, that you likely haven't either, it is actually the 3rd largest, most populous city in China on the tails of Beijing and Shanghai. I'll be taking up residence, teaching English as a Foreign Language for a full year to students ages 3 to 17, in this sprawling port city perched along the Pearl River Delta in the Guangdong province of the hot and humid southeast about 75 miles from the booming metropolis that is Hong Kong.
My company EF English First under the larger umbrella of EF Education First, was ranked by The Muse Editor among the top 15 Companies With Missions That Will Inspire You Every Day at Work; and then yet another time in an article compiled by a different writer, check out #2 on this list of 10 Companies That Will Make Work Inspiring, Not Soul-Crushing. Our mission sets us up to break down barriers by opening up the world through education.
Founded over 50 years ago by a young, dyslexic Swedish man, Bertil Hult, who always struggled in school, yet quite effortlessly picked up English upon traveling to England. Hult quickly discovered traditional classroom-based teaching was not always the most effective, leading him to start a small company which combined language learning with travel abroad. At age 24, Bertil Hult accompanied 407 Swedish high school students to the UK to learn English during summer break. Since the beginning days in the 1960's, EF has truly grown into a world leader in education. Education First hosts over 580 schools and offices in 116 countries, across all seven continents and opens up inspiring possibilities every single day, turning dreams into international opportunities by offering every imaginable way to see the world, experience another culture, learn a new language, or earn an academic degree through language learning programs, educational travel, and cultural exchange programs.
So why my decision to move? Sure, that's a justifiable question. As if the aforementioned inspiration were not enough... One word could sum up my influence: Change. In another word: Opportunity. I'm turning 40 at the end of this year (with big plans to celebrate my New Year's Eve 40th birthday with my visiting Momma in the vibrant, neon-lit urban center Hong Kong!) and I've been feeling as if my life wouldn't be too far-harmed by a bit of rejuvenation. A little shaking up with an extraordinarily exciting idea. And, you know what? The landing of that idea just so happened to catapult me onto a momentum-building trajectory towards China. In response to that desired shaking I found myself in the midst of a whirlwind, dusting off my long-since-retired English teaching certificate, onto which I added a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) by taking a few online classes, and then I just prepared to saddle-up and brace myself for the experience of a lifetime!
I'm eagerly anticipating the adventure of traveling around Asia. With my heart’s desire to experience Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines the hardest part will be deciding on how to fit it all in; and on top of all those exotic locales is possibly the best yet of all, simply exploring the far-reaching mountains and rivers and forests and seas of colossal China itself! EF English First provides us with 10 days of paid annual leave, as well as 15 days of paid national Chinese holidays! So, I am just raring all systems a go, beyond ready to get out into the great wild yonder and explore this great creation that we call Earth and make a few discoveries of my own on just how small, yet meaningful, our lives are in comparison to the vast picture of the whole wide world and our interconnectedness.
If you are interested in learning more about teaching English in China (or other international locations) and traveling around Asia check out EF English First teaching opportunities here.