Tag Archives: China

Worker’s Paradise: You Too Can Teach English in China! by Ron Curtis

Are you considering teaching English in China? I have been teaching English in China for 4 years, and this book contains my advice and insights for new teachers. Who should come to China? What kinds of working conditions should you expect? How are the students? How is the food? How can you have fun in China?

Now, more than ever, China is taking a leading role on the international stage. Thousands of expats come every year to experience the amazing culture and make their fortune in the process. The market, however, is becoming more competitive. Let me introduce you to this legendary land, not as it is in the movies or in our imaginations, but as a foreigner in the trenches today. I wish I had read a book like this myself before I came to China.

Table of Contents
1. Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Holy Shit! I’m in China!”?
2. Red Scare: An American walks into a Commie Bar. . .
3. Hey Teacher, Go F*** Yourself! What do students really think of foreign teachers?
4. Marco? Polo! Getting into China
5. Saving Face: Your ESL Resume
6. Forbidden Cities: Avoiding Jobs in the Chinese Ghetto
7. Sweatshop Nation: How much do your Chinese counterparts earn?
8. Black Market English: Part-time Work in China
9. You Pay Now! Money Issues in China
10. Me so Horny: The Adult World of China
11. General Tso’s Trippin’: Getting Wasted in the PRC
12. Socializing with Socialists: Making Friends in China
13. Me No Speak-ey No Chiney! Learning The Chinese Language
14. It’s literally Dog-food: Enjoying Chinese Food without the Diarrhea!
15. Yup, they got Jehovah’s Witnesses here, too: Religion in China
16. I didn’t Order the Pupu Platter: Surviving Chinese Bathrooms
17. White Rice or Brown Rice: Racism in China
18. Riding the Chinese Dragon: Transportation
Appendix: Workers, Party! Making the Most of your Time in China

My Review: Real talk when I was just dipping my toe into reading about teaching abroad, I laughed SO hard at the chapter titles in this very short book and I knew it was going to be one of the books I read for my research.

This book may have funny chapter titles but it really dives into each subject and gives you a great understanding of the subject. For example, education is hard in China.

This book is a fantastic guide for those specifically wanting to teach in China, it dives into social norms, what to expect and yes even racism in China. It gives you a deep insight into teaching ESL to Chinese students

I really enjoyed this book and I will read it again once I am ready to go especially if I gain contract in China.


The Forbidden city isn’t that big… just kidding.

Confession:   Sometimes I am an absolute idiot when I travel.  I mean I don’t mean to be but it happens.

I will often travel to a destination with an idea on how I think it is going to be but in reality I was wrong.   That is why I love to travel it changes your perception on everything.

For example, the Forbidden City.   My perception was what I had seen in the movies, or the occasional blog.

In other words, I thought it was just one maybe two buildings, pretty much this scene from Mulan

Don’t judge me I learned a lot of valuable lessons from Disney.

Anyway I digress.   I just thought we would walk in see this building and that would be that.

In fact, after we walked in I looked over at the person with me.

“The Forbidden City isn’t really that big, is it?”

The look he gave me was crazy.  It was mixed with shock, confusion and Jen you are f’ing crazy.  I guess he knew  the truth.

I mean the buildings were not that tall so I was kinda right.

So you will walk a lot and it is large like very large. Pretty sure it took us 4 hours just to walk through it. IF you were like me and walked all over Beijing the day before the Forbidden City it is very daunting.  In fact, I was beyond exhausted every night in China from all the walking.   (TAKE the subway, trust me)

It was a great attraction and obviously if you go to Beijing it is a must do.  I really enjoyed it, especially I have seen it in so many books, blogs and movies.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Forbidden City.

Have you been?


Mr. Shi’s??? Yes please!

One of the most shameful things about me is I really don’t like eating.   In other words, I am one of the pickiest eaters you will every meet.

Food is great and don’t get me wrong I love dessert but I am incredibly picky when it comes to food.

So based on this knowledge, I knew China was going to be a challenge.   (sadly every where I travel is a challenge)

I didn’t eat much in China, well that was until I discovered Mr. Shi’s.   We had googled places to eat prior to arriving and Mr. Shi’s came up on a lot of lists.   Internet wasn’t really easy for us to obtain in China, but we managed to get on the internet once to perform the search.

Imagine our surprise when we learned that Mr. Shi’s was literally around the corner from the hotel.

We decided to give it a try and by this point I was so hungry I was willing to give anything a try.

We walked to the destination, with a very rough map.  It was a small hole in the wall right smack dab in the middle of the hutong.   We went inside and I have to admit the smell of fried dumplings was a welcomed smell.

I ordered pork and chive dumplings and anxiously awaited my food.

When it arrived… I took a bite and oh. my. god.  it was DELICIOUS.

So needless to say, I ate there every day and did not have another hungry day in Beijing again.

The End.


The Beijing Subway, it is easier than you think

We put using the subway off.  We should have started using the subway from day one, it would have saved us from walking miles and miles and miles.  Seriously, pretty positive we walked a marathon every single day 🙂

Anyway, we finally decided to take a chance and try the subway out and realized it is very user friendly and if we go back to Beijing we will certainly use it from day one.

For starters, everything is in English… so you don’t have to memorize characters. It is also color coded which is very easy to use.

All you do is get a card from the counter, put a 20 yuan deposit down, pay 20 Yuan and get to riding. SOOOOO easy. If you need to reload it, you just use the machine, click reload (yes they have English as an option)  and be on your way.

The only tip I can really recommend is that every major station has 4 points, one for each corner of the road. Make sure you know which on you need, it makes a huge difference.

Also make sure you have your passport on you, we went through a few security check points and had to show our passports.   I am not sure if this is a regular thing in Beijing but I can assure you we had to show our passports more than once while in China, so while I am an advocate for leaving your passport locked up and safe 90% of the time, China is a place where you should keep your passport on you.

Also rush hour is jammed, like the whole city of Beijing is on the subway I swear so make sure you are ready to face those crowds.

When I go back to China I will utilize the subway a lot because while I enjoyed walking around Beijing I ended up loosing a toe nail from all of the walking so next time I will use the subway, it is not hard.  I promise.

Oh one last thing, take a picture of your stop just you remember the name, I confused a lot of stops.  It was not a big deal as I obviously made it back every night but this will make your life much easier.

Have you used the Beijing subway?  What did you think?