Between my grad and undergrad year I went to Shanghai. My first time living in China. I realized living there and traveling there is completely different. My other first impression was that I was not the only one studying Chinese and interested in business. I know it sounds sheltered, I was sort of different for having such a major in college. But in truth is Europeans, Australians and Kiwis are all studying Chinese and are damn good at it.
In 2010, I realized that the days of having an "American" degree and a command of the Chinese language was helpful but not enough to start one's career in China. China is filled with western educated Chinese working in American companies for a fraction of the price of what it would be to hire an American graduate in America. I was entering an age where cheap labor for toys was rapidly being replaced by cheap labor for services such as CPAs (big 4's have Chinese- American educated CPA"S in China doing financial reports, wall-street quality without the price), lawyers, and much more.
My initial adjustment to China was easy. I had a good roommate that helped me show bus routes. I also had some family there already working. Having a nice western Sunday dinner really helped. My job in the hotel also allowed me to interact with a lot of Americans and foreigners. 40% of our clientele were foreigners. I worked in the food and beverage section for the 3 months before teaching English.
I also taught English and I was a private tutor. I liked my private lessons better. I treated it like a business. They were not my students, they were my clients and I would go the extra mile to forge a relationship with them. I have not seen my private students in 3 years but I still keep in touch with them.
I also taught in a training center. Training centers are like night school community college for English. Teaching in the school was but for the paycheck. It is a great salary for China. In 6 months, I had 5 tailor made suits, 8,000 k in my bank account, and a personal trainer. But I knew that teaching wouldn't develop myself. I would rather work in a company and gain experience even if the pay was not that good. English teachers in China don't get pay raises and China is becoming more expensive while the pay stays the same. Beijing is already the most expensive city in the world in relation to the average salary. Shanghai is right up there.
I have great friends who are great teachers but it wasn't for me. Shortly after my teaching post, I returned to America to pursue my MBA.