1. Workplace inequality
China is indeed a communist country, but you’d better believe your private language center is a purely capitalist venture. And you — the unmistakable, foreign-looking face — are their flagship product. You will be pampered with an amazingly modern apartment, a hefty salary, and light hours. It’s pretty awesome, if I’m honest.
This begs the question, though: Can you deal with the fact that your Chinese counterpart is making pennies for working twice as many hours as you? Can you stomach the wine you’re drinking over Christmas dinner, knowing your assistant is stuck at work, covering your half of the lesson? Many schools have the attitude that their Chinese employees are disposable. You’ll have more luck shooting baijiu without cringing than fighting the glaring inequality at your school.
Quit traveling wrong already
"…When I once admitted my daily KFC routine [in Beijing] to another traveler, he took that as permission to lecture me on the importance of integration. From him, I “learned” that I should be traveling more vibrantly, experiencing foreign lifestyles more authentically, and rejecting anything that was not representative of local culture.
In the States, I never go to KFC. My stint with Colonel Sanders in China was an entirely new exposure, led by a love of sugar. Most other times, I did eat local food, experiment with Beijing flavor, and experience the various visceral reactions brought on by ingesting what I still refer to as pork skin Jell-O. I felt worse having to make these claims in my defense than admitting to the alleged travel crime.”
—excerpted from Quit traveling wrong already