Hi, I’m Jordan.
I’m an American living and working in China.
This blog is for friends and family and anyone curious about this experience.
Since 2011 I’ve been calling Dalian, China my home. I came over here with the expectation of staying for one year before returning home and getting an “adult” job. When my one year contract came to a close, I decided to stick around another six months. My coworkers were excited, and my supervisors didn’t need to replace a Western teacher (an arduous process here). So I settled back in and enjoyed the time.
My certification as a Secondary Integrated Language Arts teacher has come in quite handy, and is really the big reason I’ve been able to seek other employment opportunities in the area. Getting here is becoming harder and harder, but the basics are still the same: Get your degree, passport, some work experience, and jump online and start applying. I went through Footprints Recruiting, and they worked as a liaison between me and the first school I worked at. Going through an agency like Footprints put me in contact with a trustworthy school in the smoothest way possible.
My time here has been filled with experiences inside the classroom and many outside. The clash of the cultures isn’t so much a clash as it is a constant blending that a lot of the times results in humorous misunderstandings and always something learned. Everyone will have a different experience, though. No two are ever the same, and the location will affect this in a multitude of ways. Depending on what province or city you’re in, China will present you with plenty of opportunities to make your own stories.
During my time here I’ve gotten to see a lot of pretty cool places. Having traveled to more than fifty different cities throughout China, these last few years have just made me want to see more and more. I’ve visited Beijing and seen the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors, and even Luoyang and the Longmen Grottoes. Natural sights such as sacred Hua Mountain and the beautiful scenery of Guilin and Yangshuo are fantastic, too. Even old Song Mountain where the Shaolin Temple has stood for hundreds of years is a wonderful destination. Taking the train from Dalian all the way to Lhasa, Tibet was something I’ll never forget, either. Traveling to a remote village in the rural area of Ningxia with 23 High Schoolers for a week to volunteer at a two-room school with dirt floors is still one of my favorite memories. Visiting the far North West Xinjiang province recently was great, too. Seeing the end of the Great Wall in the desert was impressive! But if you’re going to live in China, I truly believe that Dalian, and even more, Kaifaqu, is one of the best places you can be.
Dalian is a young city by Chinese standards, but it has an interesting history, great parks to see, a nice zoo, some beaches, a lot of job opportunities, some friendly and open people, and I would recommend this coastal city to anyone. No matter where you go, people will always want to get out, to travel. I talk with people all the time here who just want to see different areas of China. They don’t know why I like it here so much, but I’m still having a great time.