Top tips for living, teaching and travelling in China

When you think there’s no more room on a bus, there is.

Haggling is always a good idea.

To quote a friend who works at my school, after 5 months using a squat toilet, you’ll have ‘an ass carved by the gods’

Try all the weird looking fruit, vegetables and street food – some of it you may regret but most of it is delicious

Be patient. Over 1.3 billion other people live in this country, sometimes it takes longer than it should to get things done

In China, many things are not done the way we do them at home. It’s not weird, it’s just different.

To be a good teacher, all you have to do is smile, and the rest will come.

i-to-i interns with locals in Guizhou, China

If you’re bursting with nerves before a lesson, the kids don’t have to know that. Act confident!

Make lessons fun! If you think you’ll be bored teaching it, the kids will be bored learning it. Change it up to make it engaging.

I teach grade 1 and 2. My favourite teaching assistant told me, ‘grade 1 is about patience; grade 2 is about love’.

Be open minded. Embrace the foreign and exotic culture that China has to offer, don’t try and make your life the same as it was back home because it won’t be.

i-to-i intern Danni climbs a mountain in the sunshine in Guizhou, China

Be prepared to be the feature of a hundred thousand photos, and to receive second glances every time you walk down the street. It’s a big self esteem boost to be called ‘beautiful’ by every other Chinese person.

Don’t wait until it’s all clear to cross the road, because it’s never all clear. Like my Chinese teacher in Australia used to say, ‘if you wait to cross, you’ll be waiting forever!’.

If you’re thinking of doing this internship but are a bit reluctant, are too scared to leave your family, friends, job, comfortable mundane lifestyle, or think you’ll be a bad teacher I implore you to set your worries aside and just do it. I felt the exact same way – so did everyone I’ve met on the trip! A quote I read said something like, ‘if we wait until we are ready, no one would ever do anything’.

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