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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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I’ve been nearly 4 months removed from my awesome 7½ year experience teaching English abroad in China, but even now, I still find myself reminiscing on the incredible journey I’ve had living and working overseas.
When it comes to traveling, everyone outta’ have one time in their life where they just flat out say, “Fuck it.”
It’s finally here—you’re leaving China and ain’t coming back. Maybe it’s a new job opportunity. Maybe it’s an emergency or you’re getting married. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve lived in the country that long and it’s just time to pack your bags and get the hell out before you’re stuck in a void that you feel you can’t escape.
“Don, what’s the process like teaching English abroad in China? From finding jobs, getting visas, and working at schools, to getting an apartment, traveling ... everything!?”
It’s been a wild 7+ years teaching English abroad in China—I know, I can’t believe it either. I’ve had ups and downs, highs and lows, experienced the good with the bad, and … yada, yada, yada. Who cares? Look, in the span of those years I’ve come to notice two genuinely important things: One, I don’t know who was/is a cooler president, Barack Obama or Xi Jingping? What do you think? Ah, that’s a tough one. Damnit!
I’ve taken so many local bus tours across China that I’ve lost count. Honestly, as an expat, they’re just one of the best ways to travel and see all the beautiful sights China has to offer, from bustling cityscapes riddled with towering skyscrapers to the most incredible, jaw-dropping natural escapes you just might ever lay eyes on.
Well, well, well, if it ain’t Shanghai, China’s most populous city. It’s home to some 24 million people--registered, that is—spread out over 3,900 sq. meters (1,500 sq. miles) of beautiful, organized chaos.
You're in China, there's a holiday fast approaching, and you have zero clue as to where to spend your next vacation. Shanghai or Beijing? Nope, you've either been before or feel very keen on exploring some offbeat tourist hub you've probably never even heard of. Here's my list of 30+ top things to do and places to visit in China that aren't Shanghai or Beijing.
It's holiday time in China, you're in Shanghai, and looking for the best attractions and places to visit nearby. I know—you haven't got a clue about where to go, what to see, or what to do. Here's my list of 10+ top things to do and places to see near Shanghai:
Ok, ok, so you’re in search of an English teaching job in China and have not a single clue as to where to look. Or, you know to hit up the notorious Dave’s ESL Café, but is that really the best website to find English teaching jobs in the country?
There's just something about China and statues that just goes hand in hand. They're everywhere--from small, 10-meter tall molds of prominent Chinese nationals in busy downtown areas to larger-than-life sculptures of religious deities perched on rural mountainsides and tourist beaches. They're eye-catching, they're symbolic, and as I've come to discover, worth every penny of the adventure you'll take just to see them. Here are the 10+ coolest statues in China you need to see ASAP:
"So, what's some hot trends, cool technology, and awesome products coming out of China?" Heck, it's like clockwork. As an expat in China for 6 years and counting, it's just one of those questions I've come to expect whenever I speak with people from back home.
It was peaceful for a while. Not zen-like, but the type of quiet you feel grateful for, especially when your heart is racing cause you’re in a rush to get somewhere.
So, let’s say you’re stuck in Xi’an. You’ve missed your 7-hour train to Shanghai because you miscalculated just how much traffic there’d be on your way to the railway station in the morning, and every remaining train throughout the day is sold-out. Shit.
So, you're living in China and have got some friends, family, or a boyfriend/girlfriend coming to visit. You know all the hot tourist hot spots, restaurants, bars, and clubs to hit, but what about actually showing off something, you know, cultural? After all, 'this is China'—a country brimming with more than 5,000 years of history and traditions. Here's my list of 15+ best cultural experiences and activities in China to show off to your family and friends when they come visit.
You ever been to a wedding in China? They sure are a cultural spectacle, especially to an expat living and working in the country. I’ve been fortunate to have attended 6 weddings over the years that have included marriage between Chinese locals and Chinese with foreigners. I haven't experienced all types of weddings in the country, but here’s a good look at what you can expect:
Dear China, for once could you please hold the ‘Méiyŏu?’ It seems just about every week that I, an American expat teaching English in China for the past 6 years, stumble upon what seems like one of the country's cruelest ongoing jokes: ‘Méiyŏu-gate'.
A guy once tried to stab me in China—Shanghai, to be specific. No kidding, he pulled out a pocketknife and made multiple swings towards my head. And in all honestly, it was partly my fault.
Ah, Chinese food--you just got a love it! It's tasty, it's colorful, it's healthy, it's jam-packed with a variety of aromas, and it heavily incorporates influences of China's longstanding history, culture, and traditions.
After nearly 6 years of living in China, I can't believe that I've just finally gotten around to spending at least thirty minutes to an hour each day exercising. Well, sort of.
Thinking of teaching English in China but aren't sure about which city is the right place for you to live and work in? Well, check out my list of the 15 most popular cities to teach English in while in China.
So, you’re considering teaching English abroad. You’ve thought about moving to popular regions in South Asia like South Korea, Thailand and Japan, but you’re not sure about which is the best place for you. And low and behold, you’ve skipped over one of the most exciting major players in the region: What about becoming an ESL teacher in China?
Moving to China, or any country for that matter, and adjusting to cultural differences can be a very daunting process if you're not well prepared for the significant changes of lifestyle that lie ahead. To help make your journey as smooooth as possible, here's my list of 15+ things to know & watch out for before moving to China.
Hands down, the best list of popular attractions and top things to do in the Pudong District of Shanghai, by an expat whose actually lived there!
An E-Bike, or electric scooter, is one of the most popular forms of transportation on the road in China. Everyone's got one, including expats. With that, E-Bikes are hot items for thieves to prey upon, and if you've failed to take the proper steps to secure your ride, you can guarantee that it'll end up in someone else’s hands in the blink of an eye. And hey, that's from my own experience! Here are 5 ways you can protect your scooter/E-Bike in China.