Ameson Education and Cultural Exchange Foundation
Excellent Introduction to China
Submitted by wuyan | February 01, 2016
I feel the AYC program is an excellent introduction to China for recent college graduates. With China's new visa requirements, AYC is unique in providing today's young college graduates a legitimate way to experience China as well as a feeling of community and support when needed. Having followed the program since its inception several years ago, I can honestly say that the staff work tirelessly to ensure that each Educational Ambassador is ready for the experience and receives help and guidance whenever needed. I am confident in recommending this program and encourage everyone who is interested in seeing where a year (or more!) in China takes them to contact AYC and learn more.
Fun, Rewarding, and Meaningful
Submitted by James Sundquist - Yale University | December 16, 2015
AYC was the best way possible for me to spend my first year out of college. I had a blast immersing myself in a new culture, gaining some experience as an educator, and making great strides in my Mandarin (I had 3 semesters before arriving). I also had plenty of free time to work on grad school applications, and once those were done, travel around the country.
AYC places you in a public school and provides a standardized contract, which makes sure you get a nice, free place to live, health insurance, salary etc. They also guide you through the visa process and give you a crash course in teaching. Then throughout the year, they're available to help if you have any problems (e.g. the one time I needed help was when I couldn't understand what documents my school wanted in order to reimburse me for my plane ticket home).
Biggest advantages of AYC: you know what you're getting, you get to work in a public school, workload is light, and the network of AYC friends you will have in your city and around the country.
Disadvantages: I gave a lower score to "Teacher Support" because once I arrived at my school, I was mostly on my own. Yes, you get trained at orientation, but there's only so much you can learn in a week. This also might vary by school; mine gave me total free reign, which was liberating, but sometimes left me frantically trying to come up with lesson plans. But my school made available any resources I needed. You'll need to be able to work independently, but if you couldn't, you probably wouldn't be considering moving to China for a year, would you?
Regarding the pay: 5000RMB/month lets you live very comfortably! I took cabs all the time, went to restaurants about four nights a week, flew around the country and stayed in hotels on that. You'll be middle-class in China. Teaching English at a private company can make twice that, but that also requires longer hours and working weekends. My advice would be to do AYC for a year, and then if you want to stay in China, you'll have time to ask around and see which private companies treat their workers nicely. You'll also have a year's experience, and be that much more employable.
I'm in grad school now, and I miss my time as an AYC Ambassador dearly. I'm still in touch with many friends from China, and I'm currently saving up to visit my old school in May. Absolutely recommend this experience!
AYC - Superb Experience
Submitted by Adam - Washington, D.C. | December 16, 2015
I joined AYC in its inaugural year upon graduating from college. Traveling to China (and living and working there for a year) was made easy by having support teams in both DC and Shanghai as well as a network of fellow ambassadors. I was attracted to AYC by the mission of promoting cultural exchange along with having a relatively light work load, which gave me time to explore, learn Mandarin, and work on music. Many of my fellow ambassadors used their time outside of class to prepare for grad school and work on interesting personal projects.
I found the teachers and administrators at my school in Shanghai to be helpful, patient, and fair. They definitely expected professionalism, but they also knew how to incorporate fun and camaraderie in the workplace.
The students were outstanding. They consistently impressed me. I learned that despite my own trepidation about teaching, I actually had a lot to offer them. I challenged them on a daily basis, and they certainly challenged me. I never asked for it, but AYC does offer curriculum and teaching support.
My living situation was initially shocking, but I'm now grateful for being disillusioned of my 'first-world' standards. I quickly learned that my apartment was of a quality coveted by many Chinese people who have achieved greater academic/professional standing than I have. I didn't even have to deal with my landlord or monthly payments, which freed up even more time and money to pursue my real goals and make the most of my time in Shanghai.
If you'd like to get set up in China and have the time to explore, engage with your community, write a blog, work on projects, prepare for grad school, make interesting friends, etc., then AYC is an excellent choice. I'm a pretty independent guy, but it was great knowing that I had ample support coming from Ameson's large offices in Shanghai and Washington, D.C. I want to thank the Ameson Foundation for investing so much in this program and for facilitating my entry into the international non-profit sector.