Elyse DuBois is an English teacher from Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating from Georgia State University with a Bachelor in Educational Psychology, she decided to move abroad to teach with American Baby International English in Nanjing, China. ABIE is an English training center for young Chinese learners that currently has 80 centers all around China.
Learn more about Elyse and why she has decided to sign on for a second year with ABIE!
I can’t say that China was my first choice when it came to dreaming of living abroad but I am so happy that it has become my reality. I love living in China. It has been one of my most proud life experiences. It’s really put me out of my comfort zone and taught me not to be afraid of new things. It’s amazing to not just see a culture but really be a part of it. I just love trying all the new food.
I chose ABIE because I could see the work environment was exactly what I was looking for. It felt like I was being welcomed into a big family. I could see the children really bonded with their teachers and I wanted to be a part of that.
When I first knew I was moving to Nanjing, I had never heard of it before, but after some research I fell in love with the beautiful landscapes mixed with the big city vibe. You can take a trip to Purple Mountain or Xuanwu lake to relax. Other times you can walk around for hours and get lost downtown. The bus and metro system are very convenient and not hard to use. Some days I’ll just go to a coffee shop alone to read a book and some nights I head out for some drinks with friends. There’s something for everyone here.
***Learn more about Nanjing with this Nanjing Expat City Guide
I have been working for ABIE for 11 months now and next month I will be signing a new contract to continue my work here for a second year. It’s crazy how fast one year can go.
I will say your coworkers are your most helpful resource. Everyone was so willing to help and share their experiences and ideas. They made it so easy to feel adjusted. Of course we had formal training with lots role playing. I observed tons and tons classes to learn about the teaching steps and routine. After a month of training, I was ready to teach my first class.
I work at Aoti center, located near Yuatong station. The center is located inside of a mall which is great because you never have to travel far for something to eat. Our ABIE center is a bit smaller than others, we only have 6 foreign teachers and 7 local teachers.
I teach 6 different classes of different age groups. They each come to class twice a week for an hour and half. My classes average from about 8 students to 12.
I have my own desk and own computer which is very convenient. I’m able to review the course ware and look up lesson plans. I can even make my own Smart Board games and PowerPoints to use during my classes.
We also have a huge supply room filled with everything from paper and scissors to soccer nets and basketball hoops to use for games or corner activities. Our warehouse is filled with art supplies, puppets, hoops, costumes, stuffed animals and so much more.
I think my favorite part about teaching these kids is when I walk into a classroom and I hear “HELLO ELYSE” followed by a bunch of hugs. It really makes me smile. I’ve also been told from parents that their child will go home and talk about how much they love learning English. It makes me feel like that means I’m doing something right.
I’ve visited about 14 countries in my life and since living in China I’ve seen 7 of those. My first Chinese New Year I spent 20 days back packing through Bali, Indonesia and the islands of the Philippines. I’ve also spent shorter holidays visiting Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. It’s crazy how many beautiful places there are in Asia and only a short plane ride from China.
You can’t forget China is huge and there is also so much to see without leaving the country. I hope to visit the Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie National Forest in Hunan province soon.
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to speak to strangers. Learning a little Chinese can get you a long way. I’ve seen so many places I never imagined seeing in my life. It’s a risk but you’ll see the reward is worth it.
I’m excited to be resigning my contract with ABIE for another year. I also can’t for next Chinese New Year. I’ve been mapping out my trip from north Vietnam (Hanoi) to south Vietnam (Saigon). I’ll spend about two weeks there before flying over to Bali to spend another week there. I absolutely can’t wait.
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