Name : Mitchel Africa
Hometown : San Pedro, Philippines
Occupation : Educator
Years in China : 9 years
How did your journey in China begin?
My initial journey to China is in fact a remarkable story. Back in The Philippines, I am a registered nurse and it was actually my mom who was initially supposed to come to Xiamen to teach. However, since she was settled in her occupation for a long time, she instead recommended me to take up the offer. At that time I, was waiting on my nursing certification so it seemed like a great idea. I already was teaching at a Korean institution and had my TOEFL certification so they offered me the job in her place. I didn’t know Xiamen at that time, I had only heard about major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and the metropolitan cities you would see in the media, so Xiamen was a completely new city for me. So, in 2012 I became a Science teacher at Manila Xiamen International School. I am grateful that I took the job because working at an international school could be said to be one of the best decisions I ever made. My colleagues and students feel like a family and Xiamen now feels like home.
What do you like most about your city and China as a whole?
I am an adventurous person who loves to try new things and Xiamen offers plenty of activities to choose from such as surfing, badminton, hiking amongst others. What I like about living here, specifically the area I currently live in, is that it’s between the mountain and the sea so it feels extremely relaxing and picturesque. The city lets me explore new places and I love discovering new stuff. My students often ask me to join them in different activities such as biking, hiking, sports tournaments, etc. The city never gets redundant and I always get to try new outdoor activities, watersports, going to the beach to name a few. Additionally, all areas of Xiamen feel extremely safe and people are super easy-going here, making it a foreign-friendly space, even if you don’t speak Chinese.
What fascinated you the most about living in China?
I love exploring the Chinese culture, which I would say is very rich. The lifestyle that Chinese people live is extremely easy going. Additionally, the architectural design is amazing. It feels like every Chinese city gives you a completely different feel. The futuristic skyline in Shanghai vs. The Great Wall and intricate hutong lanes in Beijing are only one example of this contrast between cities. Thanks to the international school I work at I was able to explore not only China but other countries around the world. Being in The Philippines I mainly stayed there in my bubble. However, here I was able to travel with my students and their parents and explore different cultures. I never knew that I would have this kind of life.
What is your unique China story?
The fact that I work here unlocks a lot of possibilities for me. In my time here, I got to travel around China. Because of rugby and school, I was able to go to more than 10 different cities. When I travel, I want to have a purpose, I hardly travel only for leisure and I want to make it purposeful for not only me but my students as well. I’m not only a teacher by trade, teaching is also a passion and my life. That’s what the experience in Xiamen and China have brought to me, it let me discover myself. It let me discover if I really wanted to be a nurse or a teacher and I discovered my passion for teaching. Everything I do is all about learning. Additionally, I get to volunteer with the Guanren community center, in their rooftop garden, summer camp and other charity events. I even got to do a lecture there about sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Fun fact about his hometown：
San Pedro is a small town in The Philippines and the fun fact is: Xiamen is represented by egrets and in San Pedro, our mascot is a chicken. There’s a huge statue of a chicken with an egg under it. When I left San Pedro, I was like the chicken and now I’ve evolved to become an egret.
作者：Mitchel Africa 翻译：潘泽彬
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