How China has Combated the Coronavirus
Around this time four months ago I was in Japan. I remember traveling without masks, being shoulder to shoulder crossing the street, and traveling around through busy city streets. After a week in Japan, I returned to China to spend Chinese New Year with my girlfriends family in Hunan. Our second day in Hunan we saw on the TV that there had been a Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan and it had become serious. At that time we had no idea what we were in for.
Traveling home back to Dongguan was like a Scary Movie!
Fast forward four months and there are over 500,000 cases, in 190 of 195 countries. I have never experienced anything like this in my life, and living in China this whole time I have been able to have experiences that most other foreigners are not having until now. The rest of the would has finally caught up and seen what China was going through since the beginning.
How my life has been in China has changed drastically over the past four months. I have experienced my fair share of racism since the virus has started spreading overseas. Taxi drivers will not pick me up, families cross the street when they see me, and the pleasant looks I got at first have turned more serious. I cannot blame them though, it is unfortunate but I can see this type of behavior happening in any country.
During the Coronavirus Epidemic...
I received reliable information about combating the Coronavirus in many ways. I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend who is from China, so she was able to translate Chinese news in regards to the initial spread of the virus in Hubei. As the virus became more serious, I started to receive my news through American news channels like CNN and Fox News. Unfortunately, the American news channels can be very biased and uninformative, so you never know the truth and research that go into their information.
I honestly believe that China did an amazing job combating the Coronavirus and helped inform me on what was going on not only in Dongguan where I live, but also in China as a whole. The other main source of information for me was also a local magazine that is run by foreigners. They were able to translate information and send out articles through wechat to keep me informed.
Since January, I have taken several measures to make sure my family and I remain safe. My girlfriend and I remained at home as much as possible during this time, especially during the beginning of the virus. Until the last couple weeks, we would only go out to get food and essentials from the supermarkets beneath our apartment.
We ordered a lot of takeout and had it delivered to our apartment. We received many masks luckily, so we never had to worry about that. We also took precautions inside our apartment. Anytime we left and returned we would wash our hands thoroughly, and we would clean the bottoms of our shoes and put them on the balcony to be safe.
Our community also did a great job of helping keep us safe with the precautions they put into effect at our apartment complex. Any person who did not live in our apartment complex was not allowed in. Temperatures were also checked every time we entered our apartment complex. This was reassuring, knowing that we were being kept safe.
I agree completely with all these measures, and appreciate the effort China put into combating this virus. They took initiative quickly, and put rules into effect to ensure that the virus did not spread. America did not take it seriously and were very late to act, and right now they are dealing with the consequences.
My Daily Life and Work Affected Immensely
My daily routine before the virus included going to the gym, eating lunch downtown at the mall, and playing basketball at the parks with friends. Once the virus hit I could not do any of these activities. It was pretty hard at first, and I had to change up my schedule to do activities at home. I would do a home workout, order food delivered, and find other fun things to do at home.
In regards to my work, it has been shutdown almost completely. I coach basketball, so obviously we could not do any classes during this time because the government shut down all extracurricular activities. This was completely understandable, and I started helping my company by doing computer work and research from home. Recently, my company was shutdown completely and I have been put on unpaid furlough until they receive the OK to start operations again.. I am trying to solve this problem by finding small part time jobs like online education classes or anything else I can do.
The Coronavirus has not changed my career plan/teaching plan in China. I had been interested in getting back into teaching before the Coronavirus hit, so the virus has not changed my plans. My plan is to get out of sports coaching and move towards International School teaching. I am impressed with the professionalism and structure I see in International Schools, and holding a teaching degree I see it as a rewarding and exciting career. I think the compassion and understanding that International Schools have shown their teachers during this time also gives me the feeling that these schools are well run and professional.
The effort and intensity China has shown to combat the virus says a lot about how well this country can handle hardship and struggles, and gives me confidence working in this country long term. I know the media in The United States have been very quick to judge China and their handling of the virus. Quarantining in general is always frowned upon but China made a strong and hard decision that kept the virus from potentially infecting hundreds of millions of people.
Suggestions for Teachers Who Are Coming to China.
Given everything that I have talked about, I have some suggestions I would give to teachers coming to China. The most important suggestion would be to be ready to step out of their comfort zones. A lot of teachers that I know seem to stick with the western culture in their cities, and not get as involved with the Chinese culture as they should. One of the coolest and most rewarding things for me in living here is learning the language, food, local sports, etc.. This has made me feel more comfortable and excited to be here, as well as helped me find more friends and engaging events to take part in.
Depending on what city you live and what benefits you are hoping to receive out of teaching in China, your experience can be whatever you want to make it. However, I suggest not taking advantage of the comfortable schedule and situation that teaching can bring. Explore your city, meet people, and learn about what makes China so special and exciting. TTJ also updated the latest necessary preparations for returning to China.
Executive editor：Sophie Lin
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