An ESL teacher interview in Xiamen, China

Here Matt was interviewed in Xiamen, China outside of Kings English. He talks about his life in China, challenges - that he didn't have, offers advice and shares some of his teaching secrets.

What is your name? My name is Matt.

Where do you come from? I am from San Diego.

How long have you been in China? Oh, for about 6 years now. I have been in Xiamen for about 2 years. Before that I was in Hubei province. The city of Wuhan in central China. Before that I was in Taiwan in the southern city of Koahsiung. So for more than 6 years. I did do some teaching in Taiwan, but I was there for mostly language study. Chinese language study. I was an intern in Wuhan and it was when I was in Wuhan that I came attracted to English teaching. I became interested in it and I ended up in Xiamen.

What's been your biggest challenge teaching and living abroad? Um, to be honest with you living abroad is not difficult. Just keep an open mind. I think if you have a somewhat liberal sentiment towards people of different cultures and backgrounds then it's not a problem. And if you are not so open minded then yeah it can be very difficult for people. But for me it came to me quite naturally. I love it here. I have no complaints whatsoever. Except there is no Mexican food. That kinda sucks coming from Southern California. But other than that I have no complaints (laughing).

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of coming abroad to teach? First of all, remember that wherever you are or whatever country you go to remember that you are a guest in their country. Do not come with some delusions of grandeur that you are going to come and change everyone's mentality and culture. Remember that you are a guest here and that it is an opportunity for you to learn as well from your students. You learn from them and they learn from you. It's a reciprocal thing. If you come with a mentality of respect then you will have a great experience. If you don't then you'll be miserable.

Do you have a game or classroom activity that you would like to share? A game or classroom activity? Well, here at Kings International English in Xiamen (laughing)... Because of my personal educational background... I studied geography. It was a subject that was dear to my heart. It was my major and spent the past four or five years studying this. Now I actually get a chance to put a little bit of it to use. I created my own complementary class at school. Of course the focus of the class is still language study yet we get to delve into the various aspects of geography. It's up to my own discretion. I get to prepare everything myself. I prepare my own power points and my own visuals. We get to talk about interesting things, different cultures around the world, population and what not. And how human population affects societies. We talked about human geography, different cultures and what not. Stuff like that. I don't want to sound like I am bragging, but my students love it.

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