Teaching abroad: A newfound passion ❤️

I’m proud to say that I’m officially happy with the spontaneous decision I took last August when I signed a one year contract with the International School of Dongguan (ISD). Not only I had absolutely no idea where Dongguan was, but my knowledge of China was quite limited (i knew it was a big country with lots of people that eat rice…!) but there was something about that school and the position that caught my curiosity. It was a gamble. Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, what’s even scarier? Regret. Thus, I took a deep breath, signed my life away, packed my bags and left home for this unknown world of teaching abroad. Here I am, 3 months later, happier than ever! 🙂

ISD is a young, vibrant school that opened its doors in 2012. Today, it has now 330 students from kindergarten to grade 12. For myself, I’m teaching French and English as a second language at the secondary level. I also have the chance to teach the International Baccalaureate to the grade 11 and 12, a rigid program to teach but very enriching at the same time. Thankfully my classes are quite small which make my work a little less stressful! 🙂 And not to mentioned that my students are also extremely disciplined and responsible! I haven’t much to complain, really!

In a few months only, the school has already offered me some great traveling and professional development opportunities. Early September, I was sent to Bangkok for an IB workshop. I spent three busy three days in the Thai capital learning how to teach my program (French/English as a second language). It was a very intense but extremely useful course as I had no prior knowledge at all of the IB program. I came back to Dongguan more confident, with a head full of new ideas and resources, oh and a desire to come back to Thailand one day! 3 days was such a tease!

Two weeks ago, I also had the chance to accompany the grade 6 and 7 on their Week Without Walls. The WWW is a yearly field trip organised by the school where the upper school students spend a few days in a rural village doing some community services (we helped cleaning an elders home and gave a hand to a local farm), while engaging in new outdoors activities (camping, rock climbing, cycling, hiking, kayaking). It’s a great opportunity for the kids to learn new skills while bonding with their peers and teachers outside the classroom setting.

One sure thing, ISD knows how to keep its students and staff busy, and most importantly, happy! 🙂 Its no surprise Im already secretly considering staying here for another year… ☺️ But for now, the focus is to survive the last stretch before Christmas. 3,2,1, here we go! 👍🏻

Juju back en route! 

It’s been two months since my last blog entry. Two months since I wrote the conclusion of my African story. At that time, secretly, I was already working on the sequel… I was actually job hunting for a teaching position abroad. I didn’t care in which country or what subject, but I knew I was ready for a new adventure!
The idea first came up when I was traveling in Kenya. During a night out in Nairobi, I ended up having drinks with a few international teachers who convinced me to follow their steps. “You’re a teacher, you’re single (yes, that’s a prerequisite for the job!), you love to travel, you adapt easily to new cultures, what are you waiting for?” Hell yeah, I thought, what am I waiting for?

Well, it didn’t take long before I was back ‘en route’! As soon as I received a satisfying offer, I signed my contract, packed my bags, said my goodbyes and hasta la vista! Here I am today, writing this blog in my cozy apartment in Dongguan, China. For the next year, I will be teaching French and English as an second language at the International School of Dongguan.

I could have easily chosen to go back to Ottawa, back to my ‘normal life’. But something deep down of me wasn’t ready for this, yet. This is one thing I’ve learned (and mastered!) in the past few months: to know how to follow your gut feeling, your heart, your dreams. In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

It’s been one month now since I set foot in one of the most powerful and populated country in the world. China is quite a drastic change from Africa, I must say! Nevertheless, I’m slowly adapting to this new culture and surely enjoying this new life! Let’s hope this year will be as exciting and enriching as the previous one. I’ll keep you posted! Zàijiàn! ✌🏻️

Nǐ Hǎo!