Matt Piechocki - Senior Program Coordinator
Matt first came to China and caught the travel bug in 2013. Ever since then, he has been passionate about exploring the world. After teaching English in Southern China and Taiwan, Matt found himself in Beijing working for ImmerQi, where his job is to help others come and experience China for themselves, as he did himself several years ago.
Hailing from Ohio and now living in Beijing, did you ever expect your film studies degree would lead you to China?
I can say with absolute certainty that I did not. I can’t say exactly what I did expect from my degree, but traveling halfway across the world certainly wasn’t on the list! It may have been unexpected, but needless to say, I’m happy where I ended up.
How were you first connected with ImmerQi?
I first came to China in 2013 through ImmerQi’s Teaching Internship Program. The decision to teach English in a foreign country was born from a desire to experience more of the world. I didn’t want to spend my entire life in a single place, doing a job that I merely tolerated. So three years ago, I made the decision to come to China, and the rest, as they say, is history.
You have experience teaching English abroad in both China and Taiwan. How do you use this experience in your current role?
My previous teaching experience puts me in a unique position to help interns that come to China through our program. I’ve personally taught in the classroom for almost two years and experienced all of the highs and lows that come with it. Because of this, I can offer useful, practical advice on every aspect of teaching to any intern who needs it.
Why did you feel inspired to help others “follow in your footsteps”?
Traveling abroad was a life changing experience for me, and opened my eyes to a new world filled with different environments and cultures. I believe travelling is one of the most effective ways to broaden your mind, so helping others achieve this is something I take great pride in doing.
What does a typical day of work look like for the Senior Program Coordinator of ImmerQi?
Keeping in touch with interns placed throughout China, assisting them with whatever issues they may have, teaching-related or not. Going through applications for future interns, and plenty of other administrative/office duties that aren’t the most exciting things to read about!
How do you help prepare ImmerQi participants for the amazing experiences that await them abroad?
We pride ourselves on our candor and honesty when it comes to telling our interns about China. Like any country in the world, it has positive, negative, and occasionally baffling aspects. To help prepare everyone for living and working in China, in addition to a variety of reading materials, we also have Skype chats both one-on-one and in groups before everyone arrives. We are very active in social media as well, where it’s possible to see past participants’ testimonials, video, and much more.
What makes ImmerQi’s programs unique?
The fact that many of our staff members have personally participated in the program themselves. We are well aware of what it takes to successfully live and teach in this country, and are in a unique position to help everyone make the most of their time here.
Why do you think Asia is an extraordinary place for international experience?
While international travel of any kind is a positive experience, Asia in particular holds a certain power over a lot of people. For me personally, it is the utterly unique coexistence of ancient history and cutting-edge modernism. Thousand-year-old temples lie directly adjacent to towering skyscrapers. It’s also a culture and way of life that’s so radically different from what we experience in the West, so that certainly has it’s own allure.
What do you love most about your job?
The fact that I get to expose so many people to China, and Asia itself, for the first time.