The Lucky American Teaching in The Middle Kingdom

When I was first looking into a way to stay in Asia and work here as an employed expatriate instead of a tourist on vacation in my Second-Home of Thailand, I did what many people do: I went to Dave's ESL Cafe on the 'Net, looking into teaching work in China as the Middle Kingdom perpetually requires Native English Speakers to teach Conversational English to students from Kindergarten age up to High School, Grades 9-12.

While I was doing this in January 2011, I discovered Buckland International Education Group and sent off an e-mail to them. This inquiry was answered at once by Ping, a lovely lady who couldn't be any more professional and friendly about it. Before I knew it, I was getting packed up in my apartment in Chiang Mai and flying to Bangkok to fly up to Hong Kong. It was sad for me to leave Thailand but I was VERY Excited about all that would await me in Chung Kuo--CHINA!

Once I got on a bus and made it into Yangshuo, I was overwhelmed immediately by being in one of the loveliest places on the entire planet. Even better than that, however, was the treatment that I received after getting from the bus station to Buckland's lovely HQ via taxi., They taught us with superior skill but likewise with a sense of fun. When it was time to depart Buckland and Yangshuo, it was depressing but once I got into Shaoyang in Hunan Province, well, that is where the REAL adventure began!

Coming to a city you've never been to before and standing in front of fifty-to-one hundred students you've never met before is terrifying beyond belief but at the risk of sounding a little on the pompous side, you DO eventually get used to it. The REAL magic is when you get to know your students and hit it off with them--that's when the days, weeks and even months of your term truly DO go flying by at top speed. At the end of a term, saying goodbye and leaving is NEVER an easy task to accomplish. No. Despite this, I DID enjoy going from Hunan Province to Shaanxi Province where I met the FAO at the international airport in Xi'an, Frank. As anyone who's worked with Frank knows, he's an absolute sweetheart of a gentleman who goes well out of his way to assist you. He and I hit it off straightaway and remain close friends to this day; we even met in Boston a couple years ago when he was in the States on business and not all that far away from my home on Cape Cod, a couple hours away from Boston. We had a GREAT reunion! I did two terms in the small city of Pucheng, two more in the neighboring city of Weinan, a term in exquisitely-attractive Ankang, a term in Hanzhong and then I ended up here in Yong Zhou, back in Hunan Province.

This is probably the best school I've worked at with MANY great students who really DO want to improve their English, the school grounds are beautiful, the school food really IS delicious and Yong Zhou has plenty to do when one ISN'T teaching. In addition, it's not all that long a ride via the train at the nearby Yong Zhou Train Station to Guilin or Shenzhen to go into Kowloon/Hong Kong. Best of all, my FAO at the school--Mr. Jack--has to be the BEST FAO that I'VE ever dealt with. He couldn't be any kinder, often helping me out with matters I couldn't do as quickly or as correctly on my own. It's ANOTHER reason I'm happy to be back here for yet ANOTHER term until it all wraps up sometime in June.

To put it another way, my feelings are that if you DO want to teach English in China via a legitimate, trustworthy organization and work at schools that WILL provide you with an apartment, a certain amount of classes per week, help you arrive and depart the city you teach in and get to see the gorgeous parts of this astounding country that Typical Tourists NEVER see while you are treated as a dignified guest by locals who DON'T see Westerners all that often, please check into working with Buckland.

I personally believe that you will have an excellent experience with them if you do and it WILL open the doors to MANY successful pathways in a country as large and as expanding as China has become remarkably in the last few years.

Sean Bunzick


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