China Horizons has an incredibly enthusiastic alumni of teachers that have taught in the past. Read and watch some of our past teachers describe their experiences.

I went to China after talking to a friend who had previously gone earlier in the year. It was Disney World or China….I picked CHINA! And I never looked back once. I went there and experienced a wide array of different lifestyles and foods! Oh boy the foods, they were sometimes so bizarre but soo delicious! I was given the title of having a “Chinese Stomach” and the feeding never stopped. It was nice to be able to communicate with the people through food when our communication was lacking due to the language barrier. There is something about sitting down for a meal with friends that just make you grow closer.

Don’t be afraid to ask what the Chinese name of something is, the more you listen the more you learn the language. Playing games with the kids and the adults really taught me a lot of words and gave me some good laughs too! It was always hilarious when the kids would try to teach me a word and I would have to say it ten different ways before it was actually right, they really enjoyed teaching the teacher! It gets them more involved in trying to learn the English word when you do this!

I am so grateful to have made quick friends with my fellow teachers! There was a handful of oh so wonderful people that really threw us into the culture. They gave us tours of their home towns, took us to the must see sights, and took me on lots of hiking! Or I should say stair climbing in China! Haha! Being outdoors was one of the greatest things I could have done when I was there, that and traveling. Sometimes it was the best of both worlds and we traveled to hike! I hiked through bamboo forests, to the top of the highest peaks, rafted, learned Tai Chi and sang karaoke in Wenling, meandered through various parks and looked out of skyscrapers in Nanjing, rode the subways of Shanghai, toured small towns made of rock, learned the history of Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors, wandered rooftops of the school I lived in and rode my bike everywhere I went to really get a chance to look at all the beauty . And in doing all of these things with the students, by myself, with my American and Chinese friends, I really got to feed my spirit of adventure and made some of the kindest and sincere friends that I know I can count on, even if they are on the other side of the world.

I would not trade my China Horizons experience for the world. Jacob and Spencer were right by our sides answering any questions we had and encouraging us to travel (as we did very very often on our off days). I would trust them with anyone and would give 100% recommendation to anyone. Go through China Horizons. Learn how to be brave in front of people; learn to open your heart and love everyone you come in contact with; and experience the vibrant culture first hand. When you teach there is a more personal and in depth experience you get because you gain a relationship in a learning environment-and that expands your possibilities to do so much more. The students do love telling you about life and the language as you share about your life and language. You will grow and appreciate so much more in this life. So just do it.

Note: Bring American candy, go to all the surrounding cities and even hop on over to a different country-I would recommend Thailand! As you explore how the people live you are able to teach them on deeper level. Really, really just put your whole heart into teaching. The students will recognize that you are doing that and will be so much more receptive. Your students will change your life for the better (And I mean that in not the most cliche way ever)!

Anna Haynes

Wenling, Zhejiang, China
China Horizons Fall 2011

My wife and I just got back in December 2012 from teaching English in China through the China Horizons program. We feel blessed to have had that opportunity and feel particularly thankful to have gone to the school that we did. It was a really great experience and helpful for us to learn more about teaching, ourselves, and the great people that we met in China. We are thankful for China Horizons in helping us have a memorable experience. We couldn’t have done it ourselves! We made life-long friends and had experiences that we will always cherish!

Dustin and Joy Higginson
China Horizons Fall 2012
Quanzhou, Fuzhou, China

My China experience can be summed up in 7 words; THE most AMAZING experience of MY LIFE. Before I left for China, I just had this urge to go somewhere and make a difference. When I heard about China Horizons I saw it as the perfect opportunity and just went with it. Months before I left I would tell everyone, “Ya, I’m skipping school this Fall and going to China to teach English” and I thought nothing of it. “Yup, I said CHINA! No big deal right?” It wasn’t until the DAY before I left that it actually hit me. And when I say it hit me, I mean it hit me like a destruction crane plunging right into the pit of my stomach. ME, Mekena Morgan, was actually going to the OTHER side of the WORLD?! I just couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into! I wondered, “How the heck am I going to talk to people?!” “How am I going to TEACH?!” “Is it going to be like the new Karate Kid movie?!” “Why am I teaching English when I can barely speak it myself?! “Will I even like Chinese food?!” I officially freaked out and my family can testify to that.

But the INSTANT that those massive Korean Air wheels landed in Beijing, my heart was calmed. The sense of adventure and new beginnings took over. But that doesn’t mean I was cool and collected the whole time. The first week in my city I was in shut down, freak out, lock myself away from the world mode. Since I was in a much smaller city than most people, not everything was conveniently right outside my door and we had to actually explore everywhere to find things. And that scared me too. Everyone constantly staring at me, no one speaking English, nasty-looking restaurants, crazy drivers. It was hard, I’m not going to lie. But everything began to change once I started teaching my classes. Seeing the love in 560 beady brown eyes, the kindness coming from 16 year olds towards each other and me, their acceptance of ME as a person, changed everything. I saw Christ in them. Once I realized that, I became more open and accepting to everything around me. I began to embrace the culture and LOVE every minute of it.

I began taking more pictures, trying to capture “Everyday China” so that I could remember it forever. Towards the end I was amazed to see how accustomed and casual I felt in my everyday life in China. Traveling? No big deal. We’ll get there when we get there. Ordering food? Simple. Stuck to my basic fried rice and dumplings. Teaching? Simply stated, we had a “Blast-a!” I never thought that teaching HIGH SCHOOL would be the funnest job I’ve ever had. All 560 of my crazy-lovin’ students left an imprint on my heart that will forever be there. At the end of my journey, I was a wreck. But in a good way. Saying goodbye may have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but as Rascal Flatts perfectly states it, “God blessed the broken road, that lead me straight to you”.

If you’re considering going to China, DO IT. You will never know what “may happen” until you do it. If you’re scared about the culture and food, EMBRACE IT. You will never know how fascinating and liberating the culture and food are until you embrace it. If you’re nervous about teaching, LOVE IT! You will never know the impact the students may have on your life until you realize how you are impacting each and every one of their lives and love what you are doing. In the end, EVERYTHING will be completely worth it.

Mekena Morgan

Yangzhong, Jiangsu, China
China Horizons Fall 2011

I want to start off by saying that living in China was the hardest experience of my life. This was my first time away from home, and if that’s not a hard enough adjustment all by itself, having the many things that make China unique thrown into the mix made for a pretty tough start. The thing that I found most challenging was that I really just didn’t have enough to do. The school I was teaching at only gave me three classes a week, which is not normally the case with most China Horizons teachers. Another challenge was my liaison. For the first week or so I wasn’t even exactly sure who my liaison was. That first night in my city, while many of the other teachers were out attending dinners hosted by their schools and being introduced to the faculty, I was sitting in my apartment with another English teacher trying to figure out where the cafeteria was. I never did meet the headmaster and ended up feeling really neglected by my school.

That being said, while I would never do it again, this China experience has seriously changed my life for the better. There were many times that I considered going home, but I’m so glad that I decided to stay and stick things out. And because I did stay I was able to meet some pretty incredible people, and experience some pretty amazing things.

About 2 ½ months in, after I’d involved both Becky, the woman in charge of the Zhenjiang teachers, and Jacob, the director of China Horizons, I was able to start teaching at some kindergartens and an elementary school.

After that my experience in China really turned around. I went from teaching three classes once a week, where I never seemed to teach the same kids twice, to teaching the same group of kids twice a week. It was awesome! I finally had a sense of purpose and I was really able to connect with these kids. I can’t tell you how great it feels to walk into a classroom and have 30 or so five- year-olds run over to you, screaming your name, and latch onto your leg! I loved my kindergarteners, and after 2 ½ months of feeling alone and forgotten about, I was finally feeling loved and cared about.

Everyone in the program was kind of in a similar situation, being in a foreign country, and this allowed for some pretty fast friendships. I made friends over there that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

Overall, it was a tough 4 ½ months, but in that time I really grew as a person. I’m happy with my decision to go, and even more happy with my decision to stay.

Tosh Dowling

Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
China Horizons Fall 2011

Going to China is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It was exciting, fun, challenging, and so worth every minute. Walking in to teach the first day was terrifying. I never knew that a class full of first graders could be so intimidating. After only a few days though, the intimidation fades with their smiles and love. I loved walking to class every day and all of my adorable students running out into the hall to meet me and bombard me with hugs and kisses and I love you’s. I loved the teaching. It was hard and pretty frustrating to begin with, but it gradually kept getting better and better. The students though always made it so worth it. They were so cute every day. The people in China are just absolutely incredible, especially as you focus on serving them and understanding them and becoming friends with them. They can become life-long friends to cherish forever. I definitely had my moments where all I wanted to do was go home, but those are the moments that made me stronger and that I am so grateful I endured. Going to China to teach English was the most amazing thing I have ever done. It will be something I will remember and be grateful I did forever. I highly recommend it!!!

Tina Dittmar

Yangzhong, Jiangsu, China
China Horizons Fall 2011

A word of WARNING: Don’t go if you hate the idea of growing to love and embrace an incredible culture, changing lives in ways you never thought you could, eating the world’s greatest food, having amazing adventures every day, and developing rewarding, life-long friendships!

Brad Johnson

Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
China Horizons Spring 2011