How China Mended My Heart

By Silke, BE

 China Unlimited Europe 2015After a course of events at home, I found that everything was getting on top of me. I was close to a nervous breakdown and I could no longer continue the way I was going. I was in desperate need of a break.

I found an organisation that offered a 6-month program in which you’d be trained as a TEFL-teacher and would be placed in a Chinese school as an English teacher.

During training someone once said to me that people signed up for two main reasons: a) a leap year before starting university, or b) they were running away from something. I belonged to the latter. I was running away from the pain and troubles that had gotten a hold over me.

From the moment I signed up, I had already started to feel a little lighter. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. Arriving in Beijing in the middle of summer with 50 other people was a culture shock in many ways but we had each other to rely on. With 50 new friends by my side, I already started feeling like anything was possible. In a safe environment we had been allowed to start exploring this new country and culture, a new way of living and thinking, a new way of being. But we also found how friendly strangers on the street could be, always willing to start a conversation and not expecting anything in return apart from a chat. They asked us to join their dancing, to try different foods or, in many cases, for a picture with them. They asked us where we were from, what we did, how we liked China, etc.
It didn’t matter of there was a language barrier, people would a find to engage in conversation with us, show their interest and in return we replied in our best Chinese (which was horrible at its best).

After training we were placed in different cities across China and I found myself in Suzhou, with two roommates. In Suzhou things only got better. We were in the middle of a vibrant city, surrounded by locals. My colleagues at school were friendly and welcoming and my students were a dream. After a few weeks I’d even found my own local bar to hang out and join in with the dancing that happened on a weekly basis. I’d really started to form some roots. I made the best from every single moment, travelling around the country as much as possible during the weekends and exploring my own city during the week. I tried to talk to strangers as much as possible and was always pleasantly surprised.

I still fail in explaining how amazing this country has been to me. It is something that’s almost impossible to put into words. I really wish that I could have scooped up everyone in my arms and have placed them in my shoes for a while, so that I could have shown them what it was about this country. Because that’s really the only way anyone could really understand this versatile and unique place.

I don’t think I ever could’ve anticipated the impact that my 6-month adventure would have, or the people in it. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, an experience that changed my life. Because with every friendly face, every single moment of laughter and joy, every moment of exploring new cities/food/traditions, my heart didn’t only heal, it also grew. I will forever cherish my time in China and I am counting down the days until I get the chance of going back.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

A very good morning in European markets

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for early closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Will AI make the gender gap in the workplace harder to close?

The global issue of migration in 2017

How Pakistan is aiming for a green recovery from the pandemic

NextGenerationEU: European Commission endorses Belgium’s €5.9 billion recovery and resilience plan

In Christchurch, UN chief calls for tolerance, solidarity to extinguish ‘wildfire’ of hate speech

Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a healthier, greener and more digital Europe

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

Can autonomous cars make traffic jams a thing of the past?

Russia’s permafrost is melting and it could have a devastating global effect

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

European Commission Joint Research Centre opens world-class laboratories to researchers

The world condemned by neo-liberals to feed trillions to banks: the New Deal exorcised

Mergers: Commission approves the merger of Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn division, subject to conditions

What paleoecology can teach us about fires in the Amazon

The link between migration and technology is not what you think

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

3 reasons why civil society is essential to COVID-19 recovery

Panama’s fight for a delayed right: women’s economic independence

14 innovative projects helping to save the planet and make the world a better place

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

FROM THE FIELD: Niger supporting the most vulnerable, as crises mount

6 ways least developed countries can participate in the 4IR

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

Japan’s agro-food sector would benefit greatly from policies to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable resource use

UN chief ‘following very closely’ reports of chemical weapons use in Syria’s Aleppo

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

5 ways to boost sustainable trade in the world’s poorest countries

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

5 surprising ways major cities are going green

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

More efforts needed to boost trust in business and finance

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Recovery effort will fizzle out quickly if there is no long-term perspective

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

Women that inspire women

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Broadcom and sends Statement of Objections seeking to impose interim measures in TV and modem chipsets markets

From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

European Union launches WTO trade dispute against Colombia’s unfair duties on frozen fries

Inside the battle to counteract the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s