Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life In Beijing - Foreigner's Perspective

Living in Beijing as a Foreigner and Getting a Job Teaching English in China's Countryside

I have lived in Beijing for 2 years and have experienced a lot. I would heartily encourage foreigners to visit Beijing, but having a life here and taking on a job here is a different matter. I came here long ago though, at the tender age of 20, and then I came back again at a more mature 23, then again at 24, and now I am the ripe ole age of 26. This is the age for exploration and language-learning and English-teaching gigs. This is the age of Aquarius.

My Experience

I first arrived in Beijing in 2007 with a group of students from my university. We studied at Beijing Waiguo Yuyan Daxue (Beijing Foreign Studies University) and then at Fudan University in Shanghai. I learned a great deal during this summer and fall terms, as I applied myself to the language in a concentrated manner. I am a diligent study who loves language and study, and I find doing well in class to be my life's forte. On that note, I would highly recommend both Beijing Foreign Studies University as well as Fudan University. I have heard some complaints about the teaching abilities or styles of the teachers, but I learned a lot and would encourage youngsters to apply.

After 2 semesters, I returned to the states, and upon returning, I applied directly to as many Chinese schools in the countryside as possible. I wanted the "China experience" - so far I had only had the big-city experiences, and I was ready to go rural! And that's how I found myself in Suining, Sichuan, teaching English. I graduated from college in 2008, and then decided to go for the school (college) that offered the highest wages, a round-trip flight, seemed in-the-sticks enough, and offered nice housing. How contradictory a Westerner's desires! In the underdeveloped countryside and with nice housing I desired!

I was lacking the appropriate "2-year working experience" that is required to get a job in China, but my boss-to-be had such good relations with the local police department that it didn't even matter! Yay, guanxi, corruption and connections! You will find this to be your life mantra should you ever go to China to work.

I was 22 and had nothing to worry about (yes, I had worked in the US for a few years, but that did not matter. I needed concrete China experience or experience at a proper/large firm in the US). Suining, Sichuan was nice, but after a couple months and much progression with the Chinese language, I got a bit bored and lonely. You can read some of my previous entries about the culture shock I went through while in Suining, Sichuan. Here are some pics of that time period. I was there from 2009-2010 and then I set off for a private language school in Beijing. The school I studied at was called the Global Exchange Center and I went here just to improve my Chinese enough to take the HSK (hanyu shuiping kaoshi, or the exam that measures Chinese language skills). After I took the HSK, I went home for a summer in the states. I got an "A" on the HSK by the way. :)

 By fall 2010, I was back in China for my final stint in Beijing, and this time, I was going to find jobs aside from teaching English. First, I worked at the Beijing Tangla Hotel on Beijing's famous Chang'an Jie. I worked as a Management Trainee, and the reason I was able to obtain a job in management training is, again, because of guanxi! After working here for 6 months and completing my training in every hotel department, I went on to work at, a website that allows you to rent an accommodation in other peoples' homes. This was a start-up and I had many responsibilities and learned a lot. I basically ran the China office and was responsible for all these hosts and guests and payments for the Wimdu website. After this, I moved onto the Asian Agriculture Consulting company and worked in recruitment.

 Following all of this, I decided my job in China was well-beyond complete. The first time I went to China was 2007 and it was now 2012 and what was I going to do? Live in marry in China? Hell to the no, and so I applied to the first graduate school specializing in East Asian Studies in Europe that I could find, and that's how I ended up in Duisburg, Germany! What a ride it has been! Feel free to email me with questions regarding studying Chinese in China, getting a job in China, life in China, life in Beijing as foreigner as well as getting a job in Beijing.


 (and now for something completely different)

 Lucky you, because today is Friday, May 17, 2012, the year of our lord and what the fuck else - to include - the US Supreme Court decision of racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional, and also 5 years after my cherry was popped, you get not one but two posts.

It seems the first post left my wandering brain unfulfilled as I filled your brain with useful nonsense - the kind of thing you would say in polite society, and I will let you know the inner-workings of my mind are not polite society - and I am still craving the movement typing.

It's my love of that spacebar and the pinky letters. Index finger letters find my far less fulfilled than the pinky finger letters. Are we in agreement? To exercise the pinky finger with such far-reaching keys such as "backspace, :;'"+-, and onward not to mention the left-handed keys 121` bla is unsurpasseds and exceeds abounding greatness.

My supposed weekend in Beijing goes something like this: study Chinese with language partner in hopes of a free coffee (of course I am fair and would choose the standard, daily blend for 20 kuai instead of the fancier coffees that I wont spell out in fear of spelling errors and an even greater fear that others will judge me because of my grotesque way of spelling frappachiono and machiato). Shit, I think I just spelled the words anyway; better do something about it. Let's make fun of people. I'm not the type of person to make fun of people. I never have been and I never will be, but the type of people who make fun of others are usually quite popular, so I will give it a try. Okay, so that guy, like, wow, that guy is such a turd. Like, he just acts like he does not give a shit about anything or anyone. He's a complete ass to me, you know, in that he bemusedly nods at everything I say as if he may consider it or me if I were of a more pleasing dispositions, f or useless junk knowledge filtering through his ears. Second person: That fucking bitch acts like a stuck up fucking slut. She has nice hair though, and yes, and teeth, and a killer bod, so maybe that gives her permission to be an uber twat. Though nothing she said was of the twat-saying sort; it was more just the way she said them. And the final person, I will make fun of: What a FUCKING ASSHOLE. How does he think he can treat me like that? Does he think I have no brain and will willfully accept his spruiks at will?

I Met Li Yang, and He's a Dick

Here is my experience working for Li Yang at a Crazy English camp: So when teaching at a summer camp in Chongqing, I stumbled upon Li Yang. Actually, it was his great-big-huge-ass-of-a-camp and he was making a TON of money. He had us foreigners get on the stage and do a little jig and then we got to shake his hand and listen to cheers. I was his favorite laowai and he made me speak Chinese. The crowd was bustling with youngsters ready to get a look, and after the show, we got our pictures taken together! Later on, the chief of the camp told me that Li Yang specifically wanted me to go all the way to warring-Xinjiang teach/perform. I said no (because he's a wife-beater) and that I would instead go back to Beijing. Here is a picture of the horrors of meeting Li-Yang (who beat his wife, Kim).
Liyang loves the American English accent, and every time I pronounced a word in front of our GIANT audience, I got cheers and claps. How marvelous! American English! The whole point of crazy English is mastering your accent, as Li Yang thinks the number 1 problem with the Chinese speaking English is the accent. Actually, the two languages are so incredibly different that just about the entire English language is hard for Chinese to grasp (and vica versa!) Btw, he is not pleasant on the eye. I also listened to those Crazy-English tapes of his he had his kids purchasing, and his wife Kim participated in many of the recordings. All while I was working for Li Yang at Crazy English camps, I was participating in a volunteer project called "Peace for Humanity" and promoting the cause of domestic violence in China. I even made a speech about it at a fancy art gallery one day. Here is an article about the girl, Jennifer, I worked for at Peace for Humanity. She might be disappointed to find out that I left Beijing for the summer to help the wife-beater out. So long! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 

 (and now for something completely different) What are the people to do who can no longer read a bored girl and her half-hearted effort of trying to be a web-savvy citizen who can perform the totality of online communication with outsiders and strangers. What is the one person following me to do when I don't update for days, weeks, months or years? Now back to what I was thinking and about how today's topic will be a list of things and people I hate. First off, I hate Li Yang, the crazy English teaching-methods founder who is, what do you know, actually CRAZY. Of course it's old news he beat his American wife Kim to battered bruises and worst of all damaged her stability and their familily and the woman's efforts of maintaining normality. What is LI Yang's deal with the cross-cultural and supposed "experiment." OH, she just was using me as an experiment to see what it would be like to marry a Chinese man and have Chinese children and bla but NO I was just using her as an experiment to see how Americans raise their children, and after all, the methods of raising them are rather 厉害. So I beat her up. Eating jiaozi the other oh who fucking remembers when, I was watching a Chinese TV program and Miss Kim was a guest. Her Chinese is quite good, I'd say our language level is about the same, although I am less loquatious. Miss Kim went on national television to demonstrate to a non-grieving and and really non-caring China the tribulations of her relationship with LI Yang. She was shaking the during the whole interview and gesticulating in a way that only one on too much cocaine would do. But the woman has been through a horrendous time. And then she went on TV to bash LI Yang too a panel who asked her obvious questions such as "Why didn't you leave him before the beating became so severe?" and "Why did you stay with him?" etc, and her response to unsympathetic ears was that she thought they loved each other and that he loved her. She is a victim, but, yeah, it was sad to watch no one caring and her desperately seeking. If only I could find the Youku video for that show. It really was as if the audience and participating guests thought domestic violence either did not exist in China or was too far removed for them to care. Back to what I was thinking about Alfred Hitchcock. I had read that he in 1919 he wrote a script called "The Woman's Part," about the conflicting emotions a man feels while he watching his wife perform on stage. What a psychological drama the story must be. Back to what I was saying about how all Beijing didao-ers hate foreigners...was I saying that or thinking it? I think I was thinking it and don't believe I've ever said it. If I post, does that mean I said it; why, no, it just means I wrote it, or posted it. But I will one day say it. Back to what I was thinking about how all Beijing-didaoers hate foreigners. Well, they do.


我最近的生活和一年以前特别不一样。 我现在的生活和六个月以前也完全不一样。 对我来说,我现在的生活是有点理想的。 当然有很多方面我想变,但是我慢慢在注意到我心里真的想要的是什么样的生活。 难怪我在老家的时候我那么郁闷。 我那时郁闷的样子是因为我没有工作, 但是也是因为我那时对我...