Where life would take you

Life after graduation… Don’t tell me you’ve never imagined where you want to be after you receive your long awaited diploma. We all do it at some late hour in the library between assignments. We all rush to finish our crazy student days, hoping that the moment when we leave the university walls the dream life will begin. And you are very lucky person if everything worked out just according to the plan!

I was missing my student life, that’s why I came back to university in the first place. And while I was studying a new major and meeting awesome people from all around the world, I was dreaming that my life would work out in a certain way. But while I was hunting for jobs, browsing one vacancy after another, sending piles of resumes and writing and rewriting my CV and cover letter all over again, I was getting desperate and depressed.

So one day my friend called me and offered me an opportunity to come to China and teach kids there. As much as I wanted to stay in Australia, I did not want to sit around doing nothing watching my bank account getting empty. So I took one crazy decision and moved to China with an intention to continue chasing my dream, meanwhile exploring another country and earning money.

In Olympic park in Beijing

In Olympic park in Beijing

“Don’t panic! Our plane just landed in China”, – I really think that our cabin crew should have said that instead of boring “Our plane landed in Beijing. Temperature outside is 30 degrees. Bla-bla-bla”. The whole “moving to China” thing seemed surreal for the whole period: applying for a visa, booking my flights, going through a job interview via WeChat, seeing my visa for the first time… It struck me in the airport at the registration desk that I was on the way to China. I was standing there surrounded by Chinese people, not knowing anything beyond Nihao (Hello) and Xiexie (Thank you).

If you were reading carefully, you’d notice that I referenced “The Hitch-hikers Guide to The Galaxy” twice. Let’s add here a reference to “Lost in Translation” and you might understand what it feels like to live in China. As soon as I stepped into this land I turned into Laowai (foreigner) and whenever I try to understand local culture or dare to speak my poor Chinese, I feel like one of the characters from “Lost in Translation”.

Lovely Chinese people always try to make us, laowais, feel welcome here and whenever they see us they will shout out “Hello” (usually from across the street), or suddenly they would start speaking in English amongst themselves. Another comforting ritual is to take a picture with us, especially if you look like me – pale skin and blonde. I actually think that life in China is a lot of fun and describing the perks of living here would occupy a lot more space than one post in this blog and I promise I’ll tell you more later, but what I actually want to say is:

Sunset at lake Xihu, Hangzhou

Sunset at lake Xihu, Hangzhou

You never know where the road will take you. The time after graduation is the best time for adventures. You can be serious and boring later, but before that get experience and couple of stories you would tell to your grandchildren. Go to places you’ve never been to before, live there, try to learn language, explore the local culture. It might not be an experience that you can fit into your CV, but it would be life changing and would show to your future boss that you are not afraid of difficulties, that you are a problem solver and you’ve lived abroad and survived.

If you are regular reader in our blog, you’ve seen a post by Cornelius about studying abroad and the way employers tend to see it nowadays. Living and working abroad does the same thing. So, while you are chasing your dream, don’t waste your time and go explore!

– Alina


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