Job interview questions.

So I might be moving to Beijing.


And this thought (irrationally) terrifies me.


Update: I am progressing upon the idea of not working at 43 Middle School next year. I cannot deny that it has been a great learning experience, but the time has come for me to move on to something that gets me closer to what I actually want to do.


(I’m not sure exactly what it is I want to do, however a change of pace usually gets me closer to it; do not attempt to dislodge this logic as it’s all I have going for me).


I have had two prospective work places contact me so far. One is for a high school graduate training school in Shijiazhuang. The other is for an oral English teacher in Kede College, Beijing.


Pros for Shijiazhuang:


I know the city already.

The city is very cheap to live in.

I have friends here.


Pros for Beijing:


Hi-tech art school (with their own fricken 3D cinema mayun).

Two days work for twice the money I currently make.

Capital of China.


They both have their respective cons as well, but I want to look on the bright side of life when making this decision do doo bedoop bedoop bedoooop.


But I must pause on this discussion, and write the reason for today’s post:


Today I had to give a demo lesson to the job in Shijiazhuang. They gave me an elementary level book that they have in their curriculum (published by Oxford, so already very promising), and asked for a half hour lesson to be provided. So I biked over with a .ppt in my pocket this afternoon and showed them what I came up with. There were no students to test the lesson on, so I had teacher’s sit in and watch/discuss my methods and approach to the book. One teacher, and the main character of my story, was named Liam.


Liam arrived late (already promising) but was polite during my lesson completion. At the end, when we had time to discuss various points, he was very interested in listening to a native English speakers opinion to how the Chinese textbooks continuously have damaging English mistakes, which permeate within the entire English development of China.


Then this question appeared.


“Are you religious?”


While somewhat taken aback, I answer truthfully and said “No.”

His reply to sum up was “That’s great, most of China is not religious either.”


I have had this question before, and while it is a little rare it’s still something foreigners are expected to be asked once or twice in China.


Then another question, “What is your blood type?” Again a little taken aback I say “B negative.”


“B is what a lot of Chinese are!”


Ok this is getting weird. But then conversation resumes back to the job so I think the strangeness is over.


Alas it was not. The grand finale, complete with a dead-pan serious face, “What is your star sign?”




“Ah, the fire sign, I knew it.” And he proceeded to rattle off the many reason he knew I was a fire type. (I didn’t know I had stumbled into Avatar). Then he asks, “What do you think I am, I’ll give you a hint, I am a water type.”


And so my brain, not knowing how to play this game, automatically things Aquarius, logic being aqua=water=correct.




The look of sadness and horror as I said this to him is unbelievable, and hard to describe using the limited vocabulary I know.


“Aquarius is an air type actually.”


Well shit son, my bad.




So that’s a quick update about my brain. Chat to me, what school do you think I should look into? I’ll put on record saying I would be immensely happy with the Kede College job. My inhibitions are currently stuck in the whole ‘moving to another place where I know absolutely NOBODY’ phase. How do I get out of this, any tips guys?


Until next time, China you stay classy (and crazy).


















Email with Eduardo.

A week or so ago I wrote to a friend I met in Shijiazhuang. His name is Eduardo, and rather than being a teacher he works in the excitingly busy import/export sector doing trade between Brazil and China. I emailed him with these six questions detailed below –


1. If you were to sum up in 25 words or less what you do in China what would you say?


2. How difficult was it to establish in China?


3. What advantages have you been able to utilise from working with China?


4. What have been some disadvantages you initially encountered?


5. Are there any future developments you think will happen to foreign business development within China (good or bad)?


6. If you could give one piece of advice, something you wish you knew early on, what would that be?



His reply just came in, and below I have directly copy-pasted his answers –



1.       Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working, Making money, traveling, Making friends, Working, Working, Working, Working, Working.


2.       Not so difficult because I have Chinese relatives and learned Chinese language but it is more difficult to accept and think like them. And the Chinese policy also do not help foreigners.


3.       China economy is going well so there are a lot of opportunities to make money in China.


4.       Different Culture and language barrier, at least I learned Chinese language.


5.       China is developing so fast and do not need all kind of foreign business so they will select and allow only the businesses that are advantage for China.


6.       Try to get balance life and enjoy more the life. In China because of this crazy developing we used to work too much and the time flies………..




I appreciate his honesty about how helpful learning the Chinese language has been for him. This is yet another kick up my linguistic bum, as I am again reminded how much I should actually know after a year of living in China, versus what I actually know (which is sweet Jack all).


I anticipate China will loosen its regulations and be more open to foreign trade. Understandably, as Eduardo mentioned, it must be of benefit to China (that’s like Business 101) but I feel with its awkward upbringing into the superpower club, and the strict censorships it has, it is still missing a lot of the global ingenuity that other countries have incorporated. Now however it is realising this, and slowly allowing itself to be more open to global business interactions. Of course I am speaking as a foreigner who wishes to tap into this pool of wealth, so I hope another year immersed in this country will be able to focus my attention towards this ‘new China’ development and direct myself into a career that is not teaching English.