Ben Pickering

Teach Enrich Empower

Ben Pickering - Teaching in France

I am currently working as an English teacher at a kindergarten in Beijing, I’ve been here for nearly 6 months and so far it’s been amazing…

I currently work for an agency which recruits for teachers all over China. My adventure began upon arrival in Hong Kong in February where I crossed the border into Shenzhen, one of the agents met me and asked if there was anywhere specifically I’d like to go and when I mentioned Beijing they had got me a school to work at within the hour and the next afternoon I was heading north for the capital!

Every day is an adventure here and there is never a dull moment. People back home have often asked me if I have found it difficult to settle into a country so different and far away and I always give them the same answer which is “No! The staff, students and the parents at the kindergarten I am now working at are wonderful people who are incredibly welcoming and supportive and have really gone out of their way to help me settle in.” I have been invited round to a lot of the children’s houses for dinner by the parents who are just as interested in me as I am in them… one of the parents even wanted to take me on holiday with all of the family! Despite not being able to speak any Chinese before arriving here you can pick it up quite well here and the teachers, parents and even the students are only too happy to help you do so.

This job is like anything else, you get what you put in and if you are enthusiastic, creative and dedicated then so are your students who are fascinated by England, its language and its people. I don’t feel I have ever actually worked a day; I have never classed having fun and getting to be a kid again as a chore! I have loved introducing western culture to the people here, teaching the children, staff and parents.

“The TEFL Academy was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made!”

If you are interested in a country and its culture there really is only so much you can do to experience it at home. The best (and only) way is to go there and live it! For example, the Chinese food you get over here is not only different from what you get in the takeaways and restaurants in England,  it’s cheaper and better! Working here in Beijing has really given me the opportunity to experience and embrace Chinese culture and the people here do not try and force it upon you, not that they need to!

China really lives up to its reputation as a fascinating country with things being so similar yet mysterious and ancient meeting modern. The food here is so different compared to the Chinese food you get in the UK and I get the opportunity to try new things all the time: I never imagined I would have barbecued scorpions for lunch!

Working in China has given me the opportunity to see so much more of Asia because of the country’s location in the continent. During school breaks I have managed to visit some amazing places with the Great Wall, Shanghai and Seoul to name a few.

Teaching abroad is not only a great and exciting experience but it also is something you can build a career upon if you are looking to pursue a teaching career back in the UK in the future…and even if you’re looking to pursue something completely different it really won’t do your CV any harm!

When completing the TEFL course it was great to see that it was run by people who have done what I’m doing and so know what they were talking about. Enrolling on a TEFL course with The TEFL Academy was definitely one of the best decisions I have every made; it has resulted in me having the adventure of a lifetime and getting paid for the privilege!

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