Hi Jo, I am a black American female who is interested in teaching in Asia.I have been actively searching for an American female that lives in China to give me some feedback, so, needless to say, I am extremely happy that I ran across your blog.
My question is, is it feasible for a single black female to relocate to China with 2 toddlers as a teacher? My husband is not able to travel due to his profession and I have just recently started teaching and enjoy it. I have always wanted to travel to Asia and strangely enough, the lack of opportunities have depleted in the US has prompted me to think about moving with my children. also, would my children be able to adjust, they are 4 and 6?
First, thank you so much for reading my blog. I want to say that Chinese society is not a world of convenience. As an expat living in China no matter what country or color it can be a difficult and trying experience for that person. Everything is slow and takes a lot of time to do or you just cannot do it at all. Combine that with being Black American and having two children (two small children) it could be a living hell.
First, depending on what kind of teacher you want to be your hours could be extremely long and tiring. Plus you will usually have some extra activities you need to do for the school to help promote and advertise. Depending on where you live your modern conveniences could be almost non existing, with the added fear of safety. I don’t mean the safety due to crime, China is pretty safe in that aspect, I mean the safety of products. China has a history of people developing fakes… from fake clothes, fake electronics… to fake rice and poisoned baby milk and foods. There is a constant worry that maybe the food you buy is not real or safe to eat.
Second, you do not have the family to help you like the locals, therefore, you would have to hire a live- in Nanny or babysitter, which can be a bit pricey even for a foreigner that gets a higher salary than most. There is also the fact that you and your children cannot speak Chinese. This will make it very hard for you and your children to adapt….I am not saying it is impossible; I am saying it is very, very hard.
To be a single parent in China is probably the as difficult as being handicapped in China. You will be dealing with the color issue, the single parent issue, the foreigner issue and the language issue. Honey, it could be a horrible experience if you are thin-skinned. Your children will be poked, grabbed, stared at and pointed at the whole time they are here. If you think that foreigners are a rarity, foreign children are even more rare. So, it will really cause chaos when you are just walking down the street. Schooling will also be an issue. Since they education system is so different here, your children maybe have a difficult time adjust to the preschools and Kindercare.
Another big issue are the hospitals, Chinese hospitals are not as efficient as Western hospitals and the children here do not get the proper immunizations. Due to the large amount of people here, you and your children will be exposed to sicknesses all the time. The coughing and spitting that is constantly around and the santitary habits here leave a lot to be desired. It can be a little bit difficult to avoid several sicknesses. I can see how the bird flu and scars spread so easily and quickly over here.
But, although it is NOT something I would really recommend you do or that I would even do myself; if you really want to teach in China and you have the motivation, determination and patience to deal with the obstacles that you will have to face here and you feel your children will be able to handle the attention. Then pursue your dream.
I am always a person that says follow your dreams and that nothing is impossible. But be very, very careful; you do not want to be stranded in China with two toddlers. Make sure you have a job here first, a place to live and that the school will accept you have a family that you will bring with you. Make sure you have the proper visas and paperwork. Make sure your children are properly immunized, before you come and bring any children’s meds with you when you come. I hope this helps. Good Luck.
until next time...
- Ask Jo: What about the Men? (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)
- China’s Fake Disneyland (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)
- Dividing China (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com)