Tiantai Experimental Primary School, Tiantai, Taizhou

Teaching facilities – Top notch. They have a kind of interactive whiteboard/computer thingy as well as two whiteboards, which can make the teaching job itself much easier. The also have course books for each teacher to stick to.

Location – It’s a small town in the middle of nowhere, two hours coach drive from Hangzhou. Lots of the other teachers seemed to be within an hour of Hangzhou so it dismayed me to discover that I was miles away from the nearest foreigner. There’s bugger all to do here. The locals’ idea of a Saturday night is either to go to a karaoke bar or to ‘walk to the mountain and back’. I shit you not. Once you’ve done those two, you’ve done everything. It’s the National Holiday now, I don’t have any money so these days I just sit alone in an empty apartment.

Friendliness & Support – The other teachers have been great. Really great. They’ve made every effort to make me feel welcome and invited me out to various dinners and social events during the first few weeks. I’ve been debating leaving this place for a while now and if it wasn’t for them, I’d have done it long ago.

Western Comforts – There’s a Starbucks, a Pizza Hut and a KFC, if any of those count as ‘comforts’. That’s about it. There are no foreigners here at all. I’m miles and miles away from the nearest one. I can’t describe the misery I’ve been through as a result of being so isolated. To go adapt to an entirely new culture is a huge challenge for most, but doing it alone is a monstrous task. If I’d known all this in hindsight, I would never have gone near this place. I suggest you don’t either.

Accommodation – It’s pretty nice. Fast internet, decent shower, adequate kitchen facilities, central location (which doesn’t mean much here) and about 60 seconds walk from the school gates. Great accommodation.

 

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