Our life in Urumqi

Posts tagged ‘China’

A brief overview of teaching in China

For all that’s on the blog now, we still haven’t said anything much about what we do in Xinjiang.

Maybe it’s just something that is so much a part of our daily lives now that it’s in the background and therefore not worth commenting upon. Well, we’re ‘foreign experts’ (true, our visas say so) and are here teaching oral (snigger) English. Basically, we get paid 3-4 times local wages to make noises (see Logic post) at kids and confuse them with our incomprehensible use of articles (a, an, the). We teach kids from the ages of 3 (pointless) to 12 (annoying) at a language training school which, as we have discovered, doesn’t actually have a license to do what it’s doing. In other countries this might prove a major operational problem, but, fortunately, we’re in China – land of the bribe – which makes these things easier. We’re just asked to disappear whenever official-types are coming over. (At least, this was the case six months ago, I hope things have moved along a little now)

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What the hell?

Okay, maybe starting this topic was a big mistake for two reasons.

1. I only have so many hours in the day and there is a LOT of weird shit I don’t understand here, and;

2. I’ve been in China six months, sure, but I reckon you could be here for years and still find there’s a lot that doesn’t make any sense from an outsider perspective. I’m a long, long, long way from expertise.

Nonetheless, here goes, a list of the top four differences between China and my home, as seen by me (NB: we work for a company dominated by Han Chinese and live in a predominantly Han neighbourhood, and so it is the Han way of doing things I reference below.)

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Kashgar, Tibet, Nepal, India…

It’s a simple enough plan, the one we have. Finish working here in the wild north of China, sometime towards the end of the year. Then, go from China’s second most sensitive region (Xinjiang) to the most sensitive region (Tibet). We’re hoping to get there by a little known and little used road that has the charming distinction of being one of the highest in the world.

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