One thing that surprised me the most about my experiences teaching English in China is just how willing the Chinese people are to learn the language. English is spoken all over the world, and as China begins to emerge as a global economic giant, the workforce there realizes just how important it is to know English to compete internationally.
Don't get me wrong, it was a challenging transition, but it was made a little easier by the fact that people there were so eager to learn from a natural born speaker like myself. I am a fair-haired Midwesterner from the United States, so the students really enjoyed learning from a "foreign looking" teacher. Working in the classroom was fun.
I didn't expect to end up in a small town, but I enjoyed the quiet environment and people. They were very accepting of myself, as well as very patient with my poor Mandarin skills.
Teaching was challenging but rewarding. I had large classes and a lot of young students to help, so my skills as an instructor were really put to the test.
The accommodations were not what I was used to in the United States, but still comfortable. I ended up rooming with another person, which was good, though at times I wished I were living on my own. If you were to travel to China there are several options available, so I'm sure you would be able to find something that works for you. I also made sure to pack extra medication, just in case something happened I knew I wouldn't have quick access to more.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. I feel like I was granted an inside look at a foreign country, and gained the respect of my students half a world away. The experience had its bumps, but with the proper research beforehand, I was able to get everything I wanted from my trip.