Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Then what?

The last couple of months I have been wrestling with a question that I think many westerners that study Chinese here are contemplating: So, now I can speak some Chinese, now what?

I have talked to friends that all have stayed here for several years and it is difficult to see any clear opportunities. Besides teaching languages, language related jobs as a 'local hire', and internship? I have stayed here about 2 years and this is my fourth stay in the country. Previous I have spend half a year in India and one year in Singapore.

I think knowing Chinese can be a plus for some jobs back home, but don't bet your career on it. I guess for most people the invested time won't really pay off. Coming here for a year might be worth it because of (fun?) the experience of being in a rapidly developing country (with a lot of buzz). Unless you have a passion for Chinese, really have nothing better to do, and have a couple of years to waste, it might be worth thinking twice before coming here and spend some of your best year teaching English or bumming around.

That said, I have a pretty strong degree in engineering and I will try to put that to use here, hoping to get something between 'local hire' and the golden expat package. I like to study languages, I got a degree in something else, and I guess a grand career is not my only consideration. I should also mention that I more and more have a personal reason to stay here... her name is Wen. That is one of the risks of staying too long in this country ;)

Just my 一毛钱 of advice.

毛钱 [máoqián] n. 0.1 RMB

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Come on, be honest! Do you REALLY have that strong engineering degree just yet??? ;-P