7/2/2014 Blog by Kyle Mery, Class of 2014, Global Studies, Buckland International English Teaching
I was selected for contract service for the Buckland International English Group in July of 2013. My contract was to take place from August 2013 to January 2014 and was to be that of a foreign “expert” (The classification used by the Chinese government for us) who would teach English in China to elementary, middle, and high school students. After having completed this 6 month contract, I can now heavily recommend Buckland as a viable and great option for those students who wish to gain international experience.
I recommend Buckland not only because of my experience, but the experiences of other foreign teachers also working for Buckland who I became acquainted with. In August I took a flight to China and stayed for a week at the company headquarters where I was provided language lessons, teaching lessons, a medical exam, and generally prepared to teach in China. The orientation was helpful and we were taught various techniques and rules needed when teaching Chinese students. As well, we were given tours in order to acclimate us to the Chinese culture before we were all sent off to our respective schools throughout the country.
In terms of the program itself, you sign a contract with Buckland which typically has requirements on your end (that you show up for work on time, that you teach your classes, etc.), but there are also requirements on the school’s end which is what makes Buckland a very good choice for a teaching program. For my contract, I was given an apartment of a certain standard minimum (shower, TV, stove, microwave, free internet access were required), I was to be provided a bike for free, I was given in addition to my regular pay a certain amount extra for extra food a month, I was to be paid by a certain date each month, and finally I was to be allowed access to school resources when I needed them. All of these were fulfilled by the school and Buckland encouraged us to let them know if the school did not fulfill their end of the contract. Work weeks were not demanding and I was given two days off and typically only taught until 4 p.m on the weekdays. If anything broke in my apartment it was repaired or replaced promptly by the school.
My time in China enriched my academic career immensely. As a former global studies student I was able to gain firsthand experience on the ways in which other cultures work and interact. It helped me develop a global perspective on things as I can now see what a Chinese person’s opinion might be on multiple issues, in addition to just my own American one. When coming back to America I was able to see the differences in our cultures and now am able to better communicate with Chinese students who are here and help them in their lives in America, much as I was helped as a foreigner in China.
Finally, the experience of living in another country will help you to interact more effectively with those of other countries particularly those of other languages as in China you will have to learn how to communicate with a large portion of the population that has very little to any experience speaking the English language. All in all, my time as a contract employee of Buckland was very fulfilling and I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and also got great experience teaching. The inclusion of a contract gave safety that my needs as a foreign teacher would be met. Perhaps the most important, health insurance was provided by Buckland in the event of illness. My contract was met and fulfilled and at the end I was presented with an official TESOL certificate (Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages) which authorizes me as a qualified person to teach English as a second language. Because of their willingness to help and the fact that Buckland honored their end of my contract, I heavily recommend Buckland International Group as a great option for those wanting to teach abroad and gain a multicultural view of the world.
Addendum by Global Initiatives: For more information about the opportunity to teach English in China with the Buckland Group, visit: http://www.seattlecolleges.edu/international/china.aspx. Application deadlines are June 15 and December 15.