Tag Archives: travel

Study Abroad…dare to dream!

4 Mar

During my time living in China, I encountered so many students dreaming of studying abroad…specifically, gaining admission into a university in the good ole’ U.S of A. Countless times I was tempted to ask them, “What do you really know about the U.S. educational system? Why is it so important for you to study there?” But I didn’t. I didn’t ask because who was I to trample on someone’s dream? Who was I?

I was a dreamer too. I once dreamed of studying abroad as well. I wanted to broaden my horizon and see what life had to offer outside of the United States. Alas, I couldn’t. You see, my parents were poor immigrants from the poorest country in the western hemisphere. My dad had a second-grade education and my mom, well, my mom probably had less. I was the first in my family to go to college and graduate. At a steep price. I guess the thought of that steep price is what made me want to question those students about their burning desire to study abroad. Clearly, studies have shown that it is in fact worth the “steep price” to attend college in the United States, but first, let’s look at what students in China have to look forward to in order to continue their education in their homeland.

In China, students are given an exam during their senior year that will determine what they should be in life. Their whole future hinges on this one test called the Gaokao. Those who score high will attend university, but in a field that the test determines matches their aptitude and personality, while the unfortunate ones who score low, will never see the bland walls of a college classroom. In fact, they just might be lucky enough to pick up trash on the streets or if their parents can afford, they will go into trading, opening up a small shop selling clothes or nicknacks. Many cannot even get hired to work in the fast food industry without a college degree.

Studying abroad can provide many opportunities for global competition and personal growth. That’s why so many want to break out and have the experience. Not only does their future depend on it, but the future of their aging parents as well.  According to a study survey published in 2012 by IES Abroad, a company dedicated to providing study abroad services for students worldwide, “97% of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation when only 49% of college graduates found employment in the same period.” More than half of their graduate counterparts and at a higher salary. The survey of IES Study Abroad Alumni went on to show that, 84%  of alumni felt that studying abroad “helped them build valuable job skills, such as language proficiency, cultural training, tolerance for ambiguity, adaptability, and communication.”

55f19c2dc3e01-imageClearly there is something to be had with studying abroad. In the summer of 2015, a year after leaving China and returning back to America, I received no less than 5 correspondences from former students eager to find out more information on how to qualify for studying abroad in America. So, I became an independent consultant on the matter. I started providing oral English tutoring online as well as guiding their research on schools and their policies for applying as an international student. There are many steps that students must take and many hurdles to get over before the process can be completed. One of which is passing the TOEFL or TESOL exam.

Those 2 exams have proven to be quite a hurdle for my students. A few of them had to take and re-take these exams more than once before contacting me. Others, tired of trying have given up. All I can say to those who wish to study abroad is not to give up. Obtaining a college degree in America may not hold all the prestige that it once did…for an American national, but as an international student, taking back that degree to your country will still prove invaluable! Happy studying!

 

Chongqing or BUST!!!!!!

6 Aug

ImageSo it seems I will be leaving Hangzhou after all. This city has been my hiding place, my haven, my prison, my fish tank…my home for the last 2 and a half years. This is where I escaped to when life in America became something I couldn’t bear, the place where I learned how to explore this vast, beautiful world God created for us. It is also the place I met my heart, sitting cozily on a bus stop bench. I brought over my first born to experience this amazing adventure with us. Not long to wait, and since everything is made in China, we eventually “made” our second son in Hangzhou, China.

Now, instead of making the “GREAT MIGRATION” back to America, I have accepted a new experience in Chongqing. This experience will open up a whole new chapter of teaching in an International school, teaching English Composition and prepping young minds for college. This is a leap. It is a leap of faith, that God will help me be just as successful as I was teaching ESL to adults, that I will eventually find a school to enroll my eldest in and that I will fit in with my new co-workers and our work environment.

Moving to another city can be difficult  but moving to another province (which is the same as moving to another state) is even more problematic in China. The worst thing is that since it is summer, we cannot find an airline willing to allow us to travel with our beloved pup Coco. So now we must bribe (yes! I said bribe) the driver of the moving company to also take her with him. I jokingly told the hubby I would decline the position if Coco can’t come…never mind that I have already tendered my resignation at my current company!  Of course I would not do that. This move will mean everything for my family! We will finally have a chance to start saving for the “GREAT MIGRATION” back to the states and I will have 1 year of experience to add to my resume that will almost guarantee me a chance at a job in a private/boarding school or even as an adjunct professor in a college…I wouldn’t pass this up!

Now, I can’t say much about Chongqing just yet. All I know is that it is an extremely hot place with extremely hot and spicy food. I pray we will fare well, find a home church for the upcoming year and buckle down for the ride!

That’s all for now! Come back next time to read about my farewell/mixer party!!!!!

 

Ciao!

Is it time for the great migration?

26 Nov

So many people have given up their US citizenships this year in search of a better financial-based life. Although I did not give up my precious citizenship, I too migrated to another country in search of financial and professional reprieve. I moved to China a little over a year ago and although Although I signed another 3-year contract back in March, my husband and I are planning to migrate back to the States…with a significant enhancement in my life of course. My honey Jaison, my little man Ethan and a new baby!

For a time I feared the process may be a difficult one and wondered if we were up to applying and paying a bunch of fees or even going through the hassle of finding an uncorrupted lawyer. Well, I strongly believe it will be worth it all just to get home. Since the journey is just taking root in our minds, it is only a seedling we hope will blossom into reality within this year. Let the journey begin…

OK, I wrote most of the above passage before the wedding. Now, we are full-fledged into application mode. Found out I could send the application straight to Guangzhou, which may help shorten our process. So the journey continues. Now real worries though, if it takes some time, we will just put that time to use in saving and planning what exactly we want to do when we get to the states.