I joined AYC in its inaugural year upon graduating from college. Traveling to China (and living and working there for a year) was made easy by having support teams in both DC and Shanghai as well as a network of fellow ambassadors. I was attracted to AYC by the mission of promoting cultural exchange along with having a relatively light work load, which gave me time to explore, learn Mandarin, and work on music. Many of my fellow ambassadors used their time outside of class to prepare for grad school and work on interesting personal projects.
I found the teachers and administrators at my school in Shanghai to be helpful, patient, and fair. They definitely expected professionalism, but they also knew how to incorporate fun and camaraderie in the workplace.
The students were outstanding. They consistently impressed me. I learned that despite my own trepidation about teaching, I actually had a lot to offer them. I challenged them on a daily basis, and they certainly challenged me. I never asked for it, but AYC does offer curriculum and teaching support.
My living situation was initially shocking, but I'm now grateful for being disillusioned of my 'first-world' standards. I quickly learned that my apartment was of a quality coveted by many Chinese people who have achieved greater academic/professional standing than I have. I didn't even have to deal with my landlord or monthly payments, which freed up even more time and money to pursue my real goals and make the most of my time in Shanghai.
If you'd like to get set up in China and have the time to explore, engage with your community, write a blog, work on projects, prepare for grad school, make interesting friends, etc., then AYC is an excellent choice. I'm a pretty independent guy, but it was great knowing that I had ample support coming from Ameson's large offices in Shanghai and Washington, D.C. I want to thank the Ameson Foundation for investing so much in this program and for facilitating my entry into the international non-profit sector.