If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve been reluctant to board the plane for China. Of course, I probably would have gone, but in a much more prepared state of mind. In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined a global pandemic suddenly keeping me and hundreds, maybe even thousands of International Educators from seeing family and friends.…for years.
In March of 2020, in reaction to COVID, China blocked entry to everyone but its own citizens. The academic year at my school ended 4 months later. My school warned teachers about the consequences of leaving the country. Some left anyway and got locked out. I’ve been in-country for just over 2 years to date.
Like so many of us in my situation, I miss family and friends. However, the cold reality is this: I have student loans, a mortgage, and other financial responsibilities. I can’t risk being unemployed, so here I am still in China, a prisoner to my finances. Virtual platforms have helped take the edge off the distance but a digital screen just can’t replace a shared experience like taking a walk or dining together.
At times I’m tempted to pack up and leave. My parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents aren’t getting any younger and heaven forbid one of them becomes gravely ill, or worse, passes. What then?
This is a predicament many International Educators are confronting, not just in China, and it may be comforting to many of us to learn how teachers in the same situation are adapting and coping in other locales. It would be much appreciated if ISR would include my comments in an upcoming ISR newsletter.
Thank you ISR for all that you do.
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