Through the Lens of an Australian Student

Glen Duncan at the Forbidden City

Glen Duncan at the Forbidden City

Hi guys, my name is Glen and I am here to share my journey as an Australian student that has worked overseas.

I am currently in my final year of studying a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Indigenous Studies). Recently, I put my studies on hold as I had an opportunity to teach English at the Newbridge foreign language school in Beijing.

For me it was an amazing experience to go outside of my comfort zone and to experience new things in a foreign land. I have been abroad before but only to the U.S, so I felt that it wasn’t much of a change from home here in Australia. China however, has always been a place that I have dreamed of travelling to due to the conditions of everyday life there and the long and lengthy history that China surrounds itself in and as a native English speaker that didn’t know a word of Mandarin, I wasn’t too sure about what to expect.

After arriving in Beijing, I was surprised by the reception that I was given. It was very positive. Everyone seemed to be intrigued and interested (it may have been my appearance that gave away that I was not from there). At times, it was surreal because there would be random people in the street that would want to get photos with me. Once I started teaching at the school, I got the same response from the students. Very positive. Over the 4 months, the students and I built a good relationship where we all became close friends in the end, and it was very sad to leave. But I did manage to see a handful of students in Sydney as they have a summer camp every year for those who wish to study at universities in English speaking countries (UK, USA, and Australia).

Looking back on my experience, I can say that it was one the most fulfilling experiences that I have had in my life so far. The fact that I could live and work in another country for that long is something that not many people are able to do, so I felt very proud about that. I also felt that the people were very proud to have foreigners in their country. People were always willing to help if they saw that I was having trouble with something, and the staff at the school were very supportive with everything, even with some of the teachers showing a friend and I around different parts of Beijing. I am very glad that I took a leap out of my comfort zone and tried something that was a little bit different because I ended up learning a little more about myself, and being rewarded with an experience that I will remember for a very long time.