Life is a series of challenges. I was confused when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in China. I was wondering if I liked being a teacher even though I had a degree in teaching. I decided to apply for a non-teaching job first and accidentally became a tour consultant. I needed to do marketing to get more clients! I had to organise trips and lead our team members to countries where I had never been. It was my first professional challenge. I did well and got good feedback from other members. I realised that I liked communicating with people and enjoyed doing orientation on the trip.
Teaching children was the second challenge in my life. I started my teaching for the children - I liked helping them get through difficult Chinese exams. I explained the answers to them in order to help them achieve a good score in the exam. Being with children was fun, but I realised that I could do a better job if I improved my management skills and developed my knowledge and skills in teaching and learning.
Hence I decided to go for further study. I chose to take a Masters degree. I have to say it’s the best decision I had ever made. My first challenge was spoken and written English. We had to prepare a presentation and write an essay for each module. Through practise, learning and reading I became better. I have improved my spoken and written English, my teaching approaches and curriculum design. I learned knowledge in qualitative and quantitative research methods and learned from the talented teachers and leaders who worked in the international schools.
The most valuable thing is that I built good friendships with some international students who studied different subjects. For the Asian people, especially Chinese, if you have experience in learning overseas you can see they often stay within their own communities. However, I decided to take a challenge and get out of my comfort zone. The first step: I went out and communicated with the international students, no matter how old they were, no matter where they came from. I accepted and learned from the differences. We shared and exchanged different perspectives in current affairs and discussed cultural differences between East and West.
With these students I organised cultural events and outdoor activities. I remembered one British girl who said to me “I’m surprised how brave you are, you always talk with us and share your ideas.” Yes, I did. It was not easy at the beginning with the cultural and language barrier. You may not be familiar with areas of their background such as singers and TV shows. It’s a challenge to engage in these topics, although there are still some common things we can share as human beings even though our backgrounds are different.
I saw and experienced the difference, I saw the difficulties in overcoming the culture barrier and cross-cultural communication. That’s why I like to help people who struggle with building “guan xi” (business relationships) with Chinese people and those who come from Asia! I want to help to close the gap. I have been providing effective communication workshops and training courses in
. We can achieve more if we understand and succeed with the cross-cultural communication.