After graduating university last year I wanted to come
to China. I was interested in teaching English in China
because this would give an opportunity to live and work
in China. Most important to me was that I work in a
school that had some experience with foreign teachers.
I did not want to get stuck in a school that I was not
happy in. I also wanted to make sure that if a problem
arose there was someone I could talk to straighten it
out. This was especially important if I had a problem
in the school; that there was someone outside of the
school for me to talk to about it.
After searching carefully on the internet for several
months, I found the Buckland International Education
Group (BIEG). BIEG works as a middleman connecting foreign
teachers looking for positions in China with Chinese
schools looking for foreign English teachers. BIEG is
advantageous for several reasons. First, BIEG is a large
company; it is not a fly-by-night organization and has
an established reputation working with foreign teachers.
Consequently, it is in the company's best interest to
treat the foreign teachers well, as a bad reputation
could hurt their business. Second, it works with a large
variety of schools. This gives the foreign teacher some
leeway in terms of where they will teach and at what
level. Most of the schools are centered in Guangxi province,
one of the most beautiful in China, but there are also
schools in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Shandong. Third,
the staff of BIEG is genuinely concerned with the well
being of the foreign teachers that come to China. They
understand that an unhappy teacher is a bad teacher.
I have been working in China for almost six months and
plan to sign an additional one- year contract. Working
in China is different than working in the USA, so it
has taken some getting used to. I would say the most
important attributes for a foreign teacher coming to
China are flexibility and being open to cultural differences.
We must realize that it is not the duty of China to
change its culture for us but rather for us to acclimate
ourselves to Chinese culture. I remember at the end
of my first week of teaching, the teachers I was instructing
casually invited me to a party the next night. I was
told to show up around 7:30 pm. My idea was that this
was to be a small gathering for the faculty. Never being
to a Chinese party, I imagined it to be much the same
as an American one; chatting around drinks and snacks.
Much to my embarrassment when I arrived fashionably
late around 8pm, one of the teachers was waiting in
the rain for me at the school gate. She hurried me into
the school auditorium where I had a front row seat.
They had been waiting for me to start. The school principal
proceeded to the stage, welcoming me and giving me a
gift. What followed was an elaborate program with costumed
dances, singing, stories, and a play. The whole time
I felt rather red, being late to a function where I
was a guest of honor, and thinking that, clearly if
I had known what to expect, what the party would be,
it would not have happened. Obviously, the school, never
being to an American party, had no idea what I expected
After the end of my first few months, Owen Buckland,
President of BIEG, asked me to write about his company
and if I would recommend it to other foreign teachers.
Undoubtedly, I would. China is a wonderful place; stunning
scenery, a fascinating culture, a rich history, and
people who are so friendly you can make a new friend
whenever you leave your home. Traveling in China is
fun, but living in China is amazing. Teaching is a respected
profession and everyone is grateful that you are helping
Chinese students learn English, and not just touring
through their country. Working with BIEG is also great.
It has given me an opportunity to meet other foreign
teachers and also visit several different cities. So
help yourself, help others.