First Impressions - Mark Arnold
Having been in China for around seven weeks now I can honestly
say I have found my time here so far to be an enjoyable and rewarding
The teaching aspect was certainly a challenge at first, after quite
literally being thrown in ‘at the deep end’ (arriving
on the Saturday and teaching a class of 70 on the following Monday).
With no experience of teaching and no set lesson plan the first
few lessons seemed daunting but I need not have worried as all the
students are very friendly and most enthusiastic to begin learning
or help me in any way they can. In fact this is probably what has
struck me most so far about china – the people; almost everyone
I have met has been warm and welcoming which has meant settling
in has been relatively easy.
Xiangtan itself is actually a fairly large and modern city that
plays to the strengths of being large enough to cater to most needs
and small enough so as not to be too intimidating (and the capital
Changsha is only a one hour bus away). The accommodation is excellent,
I have been fortunate to be placed in one the newly built flats
which has its own bedroom, lounge, kitchen and shower with PC and
TV as well.
Of course there are some moments of culture shock – no matter
how prepared you may think you’re to cope with people sometimes
staring or the occasional yell of ‘Waiguoren’ (foreigner)
there are still times when it will catch you off-guard. And taxi
rides can often be a memorable experience of deafening horns coupled
with some ‘novel’ overtaking maneuvers. However that’s
part of the fun of living in China and being part of this programme
– experiencing Chinese culture; both the traditional and the
Thanks again for all your help in getting me out here, its proving
to be a great experience and I’m already contemplating teaching
somewhere else in China or Asia next year.
If anyone has any questions feel free to send me an e-mail: MarkArnold_Work@yahoo.co.uk