Teaching in Asia Profile: Anna Borys

Name: Anna Borys, CSB Alumna '07
School: Southwest University
City, Country: Beibei, Chongqing, China
Major/Minor: English major; History minor

Email: [email protected]

How did you decide to teach in Asia? I was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to travel to parts of the world I had never visited, and I wanted to experience living in another culture. I saw teaching in Asia as a chance to explore the world and have an adventure before settling down to a "real job".

How is your program designed (how often do you teach, living arrangements, what is your daily schedule)? I teach nine 80 minute classes a week of English Speaking, Writing, and Listening to first-year post-graduate students. My classes are all during the morning, so my afternoons and evenings are free. The school provides all of its foreign teachers with their own furnished apartment. Southwest also provides Chinese lessons for us twice a week. One of the most appealing things about this program to me was the fact that Southwest and CSB/SJU have a partnership; a group of 10 Bennies and Johnnies teach here this year, so I do not feel isolated. Also, it is the site of the CSB/SJU study abroad program.

Describe a memorable experience in the classroom: One of my favorite memories of teaching is from the very first day of class. I was a little nervous and did not know quite what to expect. As soon as I walked into the door of my classroom, all of my students began to clap. I instantly felt welcomed and at ease with my students. It continually happened throughout the week; when I walked into the room, my students applauded for me. I learned later that it is Chinese culture to clap as a way of welcoming someone; still, the small gesture made me feel appreciated.

What advice do you have for students who are considering teaching in Asia? What should underclassmen be doing now to prepare for a career in Asia? My advice is to just do it. I spent a month drawing up pros and cons lists, discussing with my family, and debating in my head. Don't stress out about it, it is only one year of your life, and there is no better time in your life to embark on an adventure than now. Little things are challenging every day for me, but life is never dull here. It is such a rewarding experience. I feel like I am learning and growing constantly. If you decide to come, start to learn the language as soon as you can. English may not be as prevalent as you expect. Plus, the more you know, the easier it is to live here. Also, do a little research about your future home. I am glad I knew some small things ahead of time (it rains frequently here, so I brought an umbrella. And even though Beibei appears to be relatively far south, it does get pretty cold here, and I am very thankful for my long underwear). Don't be afraid to talk to someone who understands what you are doing before you leave--someone from the International Education Office, the Asian Studies department, or someone doing the job that you will be doing--and ask any questions you may have.