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Job hunt in Kunming

CHINA | Friday, 7 May 2010 | Views [556]

Kunming revisited

Kunming revisited

I returned to Kunming with the intention of visiting as many English schools and universities as I could to pass out my resume. This recommendation was given to me by an English teacher who visited The Lily Pad during my stay and it turned out to be crap advice. I did my research the night before on the locations of the various schools and I thought I had a good idea of where they were. Most of them seemed to be clustered in an area close to Yunnan University so I thought that I had it made.

In the US, when you are in the vicinity of a University there are usually all sorts of signs that let you know that you are approaching KU or K-State. I took it for granted that the Chinese would do the same thing. I was just across the street from Yunnan University and I didn’t even realize it. This is in a part of town where all English disappears from signs. I missed my bus stop for this very reason. I accept my part of the blame. I should have gotten better directions. I should have copied down the Chinese characters for the bus stop. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda….it was still a crap idea.

The night before as I was searching for schools on the internet, I found a lot of ESL forums where working in the Yunnan was discussed. The consensus was that jobs are difficult to find because of all the foreigners who come to this region and end up wanting to stay….a bit like myself. There are waiting lists to be hired at schools in Kunming and the jobs that you get pay just enough to cover living expenses. I can live on a tight budget, but a teacher would really have to do a lot of private tutoring to save any money.

I crossed the street to Yunnan University and when I entered I looked for a registration office or an information building. The campus map that I found actually read that there was an information building behind me. They must not want to give any information out because there was no accessible entrance to the building. I tried to ask a student if there was a registration building. She couldn’t speak a word of English. Well, at least I know they need English teachers. I tried asking employees. I told them in Chinese that I was an English teacher, and all I got was a blank stare. I walked around the campus for 45 minutes looking for anyone that I could leave my CV with, but I left with every single copy that I had purchased yesterday. I decided to go look for the English schools that were in the area. They hide these too, apparently. It was mid-afternoon by this time and there was full sunshine. The heavy gusts of wind cooled me, but they also played havoc with the umbrella that I was using to protect me from the UV rays. I stopped looking just before my positive attitude disintegrated. I entered a McDonald’s thinking, “yeah, I deserve a break today”. I’m so glad that despair hadn’t set in because I really enjoyed that meal. You can get spicy chicken wings at the McDonalds in Kunming and they were fresh and hot.

I don’t know if personally passing out your CV is a bad idea in just Kunming or in all of China, but I think that I will go back to applying over the internet. I only got one response from this and it was from an organization that has a bad reputation for not taking care of their teachers, but maybe that’s just something that I have to deal with until I have some experience.

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