Chloe Valentine

 Chloe in action teaching in Tianjin, China. 

Chloe in action teaching in Tianjin, China. 

Ask anyone with a humanities degree what they would like to do with their lives and the immediate answer will often be, ‘NOT TEACHING!’ My final year was filled with myriad projects to avoid such a fate; university radio, charity work, factually inaccurate uni magazine pieces and plans for gap-yah style adventures with housemates. However, when their actuarial grad scheme offers drifted in (damn you, science students) and my post-uni plans were still a black hole, it seemed the best way to fund not doing a PGCE was doing … a TEFL.

Two (surprisingly) fun British Council interviews, one livid boyfriend and a nine-hour flight later, I arrived at a school in Tianjin, China. And never a better choice have I made. Once I’d learnt how to compliment K-pop and download Chinese subtitles to ‘Sherlock’ I made 392 new student friends. I’ve seen the Terracotta Army, a Chinese wedding, a dog dyed to look like a panda (don’t ask me which was best- I’m embarrassed of the answer), and climbed the school fence at 5am (7 hours late for curfew) with people I would never have spoken to at university, and who now seem like friends for life. Travelling breaks down pre-conceptions and changes you. At least that’s the polite way of saying it gives you a sh*tload of good pub stories.

Lincolnshire, England | 22 | Currently Exploring Bristol, England

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