|Hindsight, Qiqihar, Heilongjiang|
|This submission is mainly concerned with Auqi (Australian and Qiqihar English) Private English School. This is my first trip to China. I don't claim any authority on the subject, but I would like to offer some advice to those considering a position at Auqi.
1. China is a great place. I would recommend that everyone has a look at China. It is an overwhelming personal challenge to adapt to the conditions, to learn the language, to accept that the occidental norm is not the bottom line. I came to China with an open mind and heart and a thirst for new experience. To come here motivated by money, women, partying or some political agenda would result in bitterness.
2. I am an undergraduate with no formal qualification and no teaching experience whatsoever. If you are like me you are in a very vulnerable position. If, like me, you don't have a resevoir of $ back home to rely on, you are in a very very vulnerable position. If you can only rely on your wits- make sure they are razor sharp. Chinese culture makes a sport of testing the intelligence. If you are attractive that will go along way.
3. If you are a hot-blooded single gal, this is your perfect oppurtunity to meditate on those desires. The chance of you getting half decent sex, let alone a relationship, is about 1.3billion to 1. Chinese men are pretty packages with little in the way of content. Prepare for disappointment.
4. "China is not Australia". Let this be your mantra.
5. Don't accept a contract with Auqi school unless:
I. Travel time is included in your total working hours. Trust me.
Ii. They send you the relevant documentation to obtain a Z visa BEFORE you leave Australia. Do not accept an L or F visa with a pretty story about Chinese beauracracy.
Iii. Both parties must sign a contract for it to be legal. Don't make the mistake of adhering to an illegal and ridiculous document. Contracts are negotiable. Everything is negotiable. Demand a copy.
Iv. Prepare to climb stairs and use public transport. Prepare to use squat toilets in local high schools (an experience which I believe brings you closer to enlightenment).
V. Qiqihar is isolating and smalltown. Don't expect a raging nightlife or exotic scenery or a flourishing expatriot community. Do expect small town hospitality, low living costs and occasionally feeling like Marco Polo discovering the place for the first time.
Vi. Do buy a decent book on Chinese culture and read it. A little bit of knowledge of the history and culture will make your life easier. Unlocking the culture is fun! For example: The expression for being ripped off is "you've been killed". Very telling.