Tesha is a grad student at Sam Houston State University, studying Military History. She spent 6 months in China, and was inspired to move to China after hearing about the amazing experiences of her college friends who had spent several years with Aston English. Recently she talked to The Aston English Blog to share her story.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and your first reaction to China.
Let me just start by saying, I’m a southern girl from the U.S., and even in my own country, the biggest city I’ve ever been to was Washington D.C. I don’t like huge crowds, and I don’t like a lot of attention. With that being said, China was a huge challenge that I decided to adventure into, and as I’m sure you can guess, I had a hard time adapting to Xi’an. After that rough adjustment period, I really fell in love with China. I love how the country never sleeps; I love how a simple street can completely transform at night; I love how friendly the locals can be. I really miss China. I might not live in Xi’an again, but I would definitely move back to China.
How was your experience with Aston English?
I worked at Xi’an Aston, and the best part about working for Aston English was my co-workers. My Chinese co-teachers, and fellow foreign teachers were ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I, without a shadow of a doubt, made life-long friends, and the memories I share wit them are priceless. Aside from my coworkers, the kids always put the biggest smile on my face. No matter how old they were, I called all of them my babies. I’d always buy them stickers, toys, and candy because they were too smart and cute to not spoil. I still have little mementos from some of my students. They made going to work worth it.
In what ways did moving to China help you grow as a person?
Going to China matured me in a way I didn’t think I needed. I was such a creature of habit, and so use to the safety net I had at home, that I was hindering myself from growing up without even realizing it. China taught me to depend on myself and have confidence in what I know and what I’m capable of. I learned to have a social life and to not be such a homebody. I learned to have a more humble appreciation for other cultures and more importantly, I learned to enjoy my life. I needed to go to China, to be uncomfortable with no comfort zone in sight. Without that, I wouldn’t be as well rounded and ambitious as I am now. It’s not all gumdrops and roses in China, but one of the most important things I learned there was finding silver linings in dark situations.
How has this experience influenced your future plans?
I came back home after living in Xi’an, China for six months. The main reason I came back was because of an opportunity to go to one of my top choice graduate schools. I’ll be studying Military History in January and during my time in school I will be volunteering for an archaeological dig in Romania and traveling to France for some classes. After I finish my Masters, I plan on joining the Peace Corps for a while and then, hopefully, off to Scotland for graduate school. More traveling is definitely in my future, because I learned the best way to enjoy life is to do so through other people’s culture. I have every intention of doing just that.
Do you have any advice to teachers interested in teaching with Aston?
I definitely recommend looking into the locations oua lot beforehand. Do as much research as you can because a school can be hit or miss depending on the management. If possible, try to talk to some of the foreign teachers working at the school in order to find out how the school is run, and if they like working there. Each location, and the staff and type of job, can greatly affect the overall experience. For example, if I would have went to Chengdu for the high school program, I think I would have stayed with Aston a bit longer. That’s the nice thing about Aston, is there are several options and types of jobs to find the school that best fits you.