Heading to China was very unsettling at the start. I didn't know what to expect in terms of political, social and environmental climate. For these reasons, I decided to go through CIEE to have a safety net and a representative for support in case things fell through. My money was well spent. The five day orientation in Shanghai provided me with some great information on both the job and the culture. My questions were beginning to be answered. I was placed at Shandong University of Science and Technology in Huangdao, a development zone just outside of Qingdao. The university has 30,000 students and I teach six classes twice a week. The periods are two 50 minute sections with a ten minute break in between. Class sizes range from 30 students to 65. Some classes are equipped with a projector and a computer, some have just a blackboard. I pay for my own copies and am not required to have office hours. I make 3,700RMB a month which is equivalent to about $580USD. That is more than enough to live and travel around China on. I have just returned from a five week trip around China: Beijing, Harbin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shanghai. I was able to pay for seven flights, several train and bus rides, hotels and hostels and all meals with the money I had saved teaching for the last four months. If you want to earn extra money and keep busy with all of the extra time you will have, seek out extra teaching opportunities on campus. I tutor three groups of middle and elementary students on Saturdays and Sundays. I also teach Business English courses in the evenings and TOEFL test prep courses throughout the week. Pay ranges from 50RMB and hour to 150RMB. You will have so much extra time, spend it wisely. I have been trying to learn Mandarin through several language exchanges with some of my students. They love to come to my apartment and hang out. This soon turns into a solid friendship and if your are dedicated, you will acquire Mandarin quicker than you think. Teaching and traveling in China for a year has been an awesome experience and getaway from the comforts of home. You learn so much about tolerance, culture and the values in your own life. Things to keep in mind, come to China with an open mind and a flexible attitude. There is often very little warning for schedule changes or requests. Try to maintain a relaxed attitude and go with the flow. Also, it is not your job to push your political opinions on your Chinese students. Learn how to express yourself honestly without undermining other governments and related issues. Be prepared for smelling like cigarettes after eating at a restaurant, not drinking cold water or having ice, seeing lots of litter around, looking ALL ways when crossing the road. To wrap it up, China is a fascinating nation with a lot to offer. The people are generous and genuinely interested in you. Make the extra effort to find local friends. If you teach at the University level, this is very easy to do. If you are considering doing this, then follow through and go. I am proud of you. It is difficult to leave all you know and love and try something new for a year or two. You will be rewarded!