In August 2013 I am leaving Wales and heading to Yantai, in the Shandong province of China.  The name Yantai means ‘smoking towers’.  This comes from a time when signal towers were erected here to warn of raids by Japanese pirates.  I have never been to China before, I speak little of the language and I’m not really a very experienced traveller, but I am really looking forward to my time in China.

I have set up this blog in order to allow my friends and family back in the UK, as well as anyone else who might be interested, to read about what I am doing.  To share my experiences, my observations, my adventures and my misadventures.

I hope you will enjoy reading about my time in China.  Who knows; perhaps it might inspire you to go.


4 thoughts on “About

  1. s

    Hi Colin, I am going to Yantai to teach at the university, so right now I’m trying to find as much information as I can about the job at the university and the place. I thought I would be placed at one university which had a nice apartment but somehow I was moved to a different one where the apartment was not so nice. Apparently Yantai University is the better one and may be more interesting than the first one that I was offered. I am wonder if this is the case or whether I should be worried that things change like that (because if they can move the goal posts before I even get there then they could move it again when I’m there as well). I appreciate your advice on the matter, thanks!

    • Colin H

      Yantai university has a much better location and the teachers I knew who were there liked it. It also offered much more opportunity for making extra money from tuition. The university I was at was Ludong University, which used to be a “normal college”. These used to be mainly for teacher training, but have now expended to offer the same courses as other universities, much like Polytechnics did in the UK.
      The accomodation at Ludong university was not bad. The apartments were fairly simple, but you had a decent amount of space. The workload was very light and it really wasn’t a bad place to work.
      As far as moving goalposts is concerned, this did not happen to me, but I know people who it did happen to. One of my friends was offered a job at a school that was in a pretty nice location, but after she got there she was told that they had too many teachers at that site and wanted to offer a few people the “opportunity” to teach at a training camp, which the school also owns, up in the mountains. When she said that she wasn’t willing to go there, she was told that it was not optional.
      The camp was hours from anywhere, with very spartan accomodation, terrible food and hardly any shops nearby. Her response was to walk.

      My advice is to make sure that you keep e-mails that describe what you are being offered. If the university goes back on its promises to you, then you should take it as a breach of contract and walk. The Chinese are notorious for moving the bar, but they avoid confrontations. If you dig in your feet they are more likely to back down than not. Be clear exactly what it is that is unacceptable.
      If you are going there through an agency, the agency can usually find you another placement pretty quickly. They get paid to place you, so they have a vested interest in finding work that you are willing to accept.

    • Colin H

      Knowing if a university in China is good is pretty easy. If the university is named after the province, it is the best funded university in the province. If it is named after the city, it is the best funded university in the city. The government funding keeps the places with the prestigious titles at the top of the university leagues. Yantai University is therefore the best funded and most prestigious university in Yantai. It is popular, because it is just across the road from one of the main beaches in the area. It also has fairly good bus links to the city center.

      • s

        Thanks Colin. Feel really bad for your friend working in the middle of nowhere, that’s really bad.

        It does sound like Yantai is a great place. Everything has been done so I can’t go back on it now. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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