For people coming from mono-cultures, the experience of being the only foreigner, the odd one out, can be unsettling, and travelling with a little bit of home can make the difference between feeling completely at sea, or grounded. Coming from Melbourne, Australia, I’m used to being surrounded by different cultures, foods, languages and ideas. I’ve worked in a variety of settings with people from a huge number of countries over the years. But I’ve rarely worked with one single group of “foreigners” it’s mostly been mixed groups, so for me to work with only Chinese people was unusual. They were all able to speak with each other, and many had well formed work and friendship groups, whereas in a class with multiple nationalities, English is often the only common language.
Travel to China can be exhilarating, the country is steeped in a rich history going back many centuries, but it’s also draining, can be confronting, and the smells, noise, heat and humidity, traffic and sense of being “full on” can be utterly exhausting. People who’ve never experienced an Asian country can be overwhelmed and usually find they need to escape, not only to the secure cave of the hotel room, but also with comfort foods. Most of us tend to work better when we’re in control, and as teachers being in control is integral to the job!
overseasto start the day on a good note? Muesli? Oatmeal? Is it perfume? A particular bar of soap to soothe the senses? Your own music carefully selected and securely loaded onto your favourite device? (Don't forget the correct cables and adaptors!) Paper, or ebooks?
Relaxed is my preferred option!
My previous posts about Teaching in China were our Arrival, Banquets and this one is followed by Driving.