Teaching English in China is a great experience with its share of challenges of moving and adjusting to a foreign country. However one day your contract will end, or you may think that you’ve had enough teaching English and want to return home.
Well, you need to be warned that after teaching overseas for a few years, it can be difficult making your transition back home. Chances are high you’ll be dragged down at some point by “reverse culture shock”. So if you’re wondering what life will be after your overseas stint, read on and find out!
1. Save money
Though you’ll spend time exploring China in your free time here, it’s important that you do it within your means. You need to save money while in China as you will have significant expenses to take care of when you return home.
You need to find a place to live, perhaps buy a car, clothes, and furniture. Which all cost money. As the cost of living is cheaper in China than back home, save as much money as possible while abroad. You can even try earning extra money by tutoring students outside school. Since you’ll charge paid by the hour, teaching one child for 5 hours a week will lead to a considerable amount.
2. Plan early
Start planning about life after teaching while you’re in China. You can think about where to live, apply for jobs, study for a master’s degree or just network with future employers through the internet while in China.
Network with potential employers, inform them when you plan on returning home and what your intentions are. Arrange for meetings or interviews as soon as you return home. Your stint in China will bolster your qualifications and help you get a job.
If you don’t plan well, whatever money you saved while in China will evaporate quickly on your daily expenses while you are out looking for a job. With a job waiting for you or plans to study more, you don’t waste any time or money.
3. Look for freelance work opportunities
In case you don’t find quick work, you can always start doing freelance gigs while in China. All you need is a computer and internet connection, and you can start accepting freelance gigs and positions.
You can start making money while you’re in China, while traveling and when you return home. There are many freelance writing, proofreading, and transcription work available online on many diverse topics you can try writing!
4. Keep all your documents up-to-date
Keep all your documents like tax returns, licenses and memberships current in your state current while you’re in China. You’ll have so much to do when you return home that taking care of these things while you are in China makes your transition so much easier.
5. Look for accommodation
Unless you plan to move in with your parents, which is highly unlikely; you will need a place to live on returning home. Start looking for feasible housing options before returning home.
You can use the power of the internet to find places which fit your budget and needs. Contact a few landlords to set up viewings before returning so that you can spend the first few days looking for the right place, and then make your shift. A rushed decision can lead to a loss of money while planning things will help you save up and know how much you will have to pay for your accommodation expenses.
6. Start learning in China
You don’t need to wait until you return home to start or continue your education. You can start or continue your education while in China. Many reputable universities offer 100% online degree programs. You can start your online program while in China and gain additional qualifications to get a better job upon returning home.
However be careful about which online program you sign-up for as many programs on the internet are degree mills. These places let you buy a degree in any desired subject without your having to earn it. Look for online programs which are offered as extensions of existing reputable universities as they are a safer and more reliable option.
7. Prepare for a reverse culture shock
Before you arrived in China, you may have; learned some Chinese words, read up on history and watched youtube videos. All of these were to prepare you for “culture shock“, we’ll you need to do something similar and prepare yourself for the return trip too!
Of course, your home environment won’t be much different from what it was when you had left it for China; but you and your reaction to the familiar home environment will be different.
Most importantly, you’re used to be being treated like a celebrity while in China. You end up with a rude awakening when you return home and to reality, no one cares that you’re an American and speak English!
8. Go travelling
If you don’t have any specific desires or inclinations after your contract in China, you can spend your money traveling for a few months. Doing this can clear your head and get you thinking about what you should do next.
However even if you do travel the world with your savings, make sure you return home knowing what you ultimately want to do. You can’t afford to return home without a plan or aim in mind about what you’ll do after China!
Remember, it’s not easy returning home after being immersed in China’s beautiful and strong culture for so long. However though the transition may take a few days, weeks or months, the above suggestions will help you make the connection home much easier. Moreover, the skills you gained while in China will contribute in taking you in any direction you choose when you return from teaching English in China!