Christine Nieuwoudt

Kindergarten Teacher - Ningbo

I’m a half-half now!

Oh China, what have you done to me? I show I care by asking “have you eaten yet?”. The best remedy for anything from a cough to a broken heart is drinking hot water. I’ve become very honest and straight forward and damn, these legs…must be from all the squatting I’ve been doing!

Tell me 2 years ago I’d be teaching here and I’d definitely reply “No… Nee…” and laugh at you a little. Tell me going back home would be better and I’d probably say the same thing but adding “Bu Xing” to the list of ways to say no way!

Coming to China was definitely not a planned thing for me. I’ve always felt that China chose me. I remember getting home from yet another failed interview and feeling miserable like most fresh post-graduates do when starting to find their place. Next thing I knew I was applying for a job in China posted on Facebook (which of course is fate in itself, right?). I tried because it was an opportunity, I had no excuses for. My first time leaving my country and I’m taking it. Who knows? Might learn a few things about myself.

Almost 2 years down the road and I can’t imagine leaving. I love my job. I love teaching cute little kids and seeing young adults and see them get more confident with every English conversation. I love having miscommunication moment with my Chinese friends and colleagues and the fact that it’s so easy to make friends. There’s something funny about tripping over your Chinese words and the I-don’t-understand faces they make. I love how its so easy to get around, to travel, to live, to experience something new, and buy milk tea and fried chicken whilst chilling in your bed.

Yes, being away from family is hard sometimes and 5 minutes of free Instagram would be very much appreciated, but there’s something about this place that makes me want to stay. Maybe it’s the various shapes of crazy that I secretly can’t live without or that I learned to enjoy the brutal honest opinions my school’s ‘Ayi’ likes to share. Either way, I have no regrets getting on that first flight.

Love China and it’ll love you back!

Christine