Alumni Spotlight: Landon Hill


A Middle American whose desire to explore never stays dormant for long.

Why did you choose this program?

My wife and I were interested in a new adventure, but we also didn't want to put our financial development on hold. We had heard that there were great job opportunities in China. The chance to experience China, travel around Asia AND make money while we did it was too good to pass up.

After searching online we were pleasantly surprised to see that many jobs were available all over China. Shanghai was our dream so we focused on companies in Shanghai. Finally, we chose to work for Wonderful after a positive recommendation from a US expat.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The company helped us with the visa process. They told us which documents we needed, and how to get them authenticated before we left the US. Once we arrived in China they put us in a hotel (for free), showed us apartments that met our expectations, and finished up all the visa paperwork. All we had to do was book our own flights, pack our bags and get all our papers together.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Ask questions before you sign the contract and leave home. If you aren't sure about something, ask about it. We asked a lot of questions. I think we had 3 or 4 Skype sessions with Sophie and a few of the teachers at Wonderful before we made our decision. They answered all of our questions. If we stumped Sophie, she would go find the answer and get back to us. Her honesty and diligence really put our minds at ease. We didn't have any problems when we got here. I've talked to other teachers who were surprised by something when they arrived because they didn't ask enough questions. So make sure you are assertive and feel comfortable before you take the leap. Also, study Chinese!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Every day is an adventure in China. Riding the bus is a lot of fun. It can be crazy! If you're running late, just order a DiDi (Chinese Uber). There's a Starbucks on every corner. You'll have a new food for every day of the week. It's really exhilarating to be surrounded by all new experiences. On those days when you miss home you can always go to McDonald's or Pizza Hut for something familiar. We work 30 hours a week, so it's a pretty relaxed schedule. There are holidays built into the schedule (Golden week and Spring Festival). It's easy to take time off to travel during January and all throughout the summer. You can easily travel throughout China, Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being lied to or cheated by an employer. I read a lot of horror stories online. There are definitely great opportunities in China, but also some programs that aren't trustworthy. I didn't know if we could really entrust our lives to a foreign company. I had to quit my job (which I loved), sell my house (which I loved), and find new homes for my dogs (which I loved with all my heart!). We were really optimistic about moving to China, but also very wary of being duped. Finally, we decided to go with the recommendation of an American expat who could vouch for the company. There were some other programs with higher salary or better benefits, but we didn't want to risk it. We weren't disappointed with our decision.

Were there any surprises you didn't expect when you decided to go to China?

Probably the best thing--that I didn't expect--about China is how peaceful it is here. The past few years at home have been filled with controversies all over the news and arguments over this or that. I'm sure you know what I mean. Living in China is such a relief. People here are mostly focused on improving themselves and learning. It's a breath of fresh air, to say the least. I love it!