There is life after China
Hi, I’m Mark. I’m a recovering academic. I lived and worked in Beijing as an English teacher for four years, after graduate school. I taught in a high school and university in the city, travelled a little within the country and more extensively across Asia. Now back home, I’m beginning a new adventure, not just re-adjusting to life here, but trying to find a job, and leave the bubble of China behind. Although I’ve left the Middle Kingdom for pastures new, I still have a lot of connections to the country, not least more than a few students who I still converse with, some of whom are studying abroad. I have also continued to learn Mandarin Chinese, which is a challenge, but one I enjoy.
Why this blog?
This blog was originally designed and created to act as a connection to the outside world when I moved to China. Before I went, I was unclear exactly which websites would work, and how well my VPN would do its job, so I thought I would create a blog to let family and friends know about life, work and travel in and around the country, as well as anything else they might be interested in. I tried to post a least one article every month for the duration of my stay there.
However, the original name and url of the blog was ‘Teaching English in East Asia’, which whilst it does what it says on the tin, and describes what I was doing there, now I’ve left, it leaves a little bit of a quandary. Initially I thought that I could convert it into an academic-style blog, as I’d applied to do a postdoc and would fit well with that. However, I then found out I did not get the funding, and so that idea was put on hold.
Now, as I settle back into life here, and start my new job, I want to continue to write and keep this going, documenting… well, whatever comes to mind.
“Beauty and wisdom coexist with humour and seriousness” – student feedback about my class, 2018.
Where to start?
The beginning is as good a place as any. Back in the early days, I didn’t really know what I was doing, or how to ‘blog’ properly (and to be honest, I still don’t), so the early stuff is pretty rudimentary and maybe a little bland. Nevertheless, hope you can enjoy it.
If you’re more teaching focused, feel free to look at the Teaching section. I’ve travelled around Asia during my stay in Beijing. Now, I’m not a travel blogger, but I have written about some of the adventures (or not!) in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the US, as well as travel in mainland China.
Some of my favourite memories include the time I attended a film festival and won an award, joining a volleyball team, despite the fact I’d never played before, and meeting my classes for the first time (various – here, here and here).
Feel free to get in touch on my contact page, or through social media, if you want to ask about anything China related (I’m no expert, but I can give you my two cents worth), or indeed, anything else!