First off, my name is Barbara Simon and I attend the Cattaraugus County campus. I graduated from Olean High in 2011 and JCC seemed like a good fit for me. I have been very happy with my choice, as I saved money by living at home and received the USA Scholarship. I have known what I wanted to do since I was little, so I quickly became involved with the Education Department. When I was offered the chance to go to China, I jumped at it. I figured it’s a once in a lifetime chance–and I get to teach!
Getting here was not the easiest thing I have ever done. Getting passports (I ended up having to get two because one was destroyed) and the visa ended up being very time consuming, but it was worth it now that I am here. We also had some trouble at the airports. We didn’t know where to go, almost missed our flight, and had missing baggage. Despite these adventures, everything worked out and I am very glad to be here.
China is an amazing place! Not only do we have a great view from the apartment, but we have wonderful people that we work with. Everyone is so kind and they want to help us out in anyway that they can. I am pretty happy with the Chinese food at home but this is MUCH better! Every day we have something different to try and each day it gets better and better. We have gone to museums and panda sanctuaries and I have never been more grateful for an experience.
We have many classes that we teach while we are here. From kindergarten kids (who are the cutest) to adults, the people that we teach are very much interested in learning English. Even though it may have been a struggle to get here, I recommend that if you have to opportunity to do something like this, DON’T pass it up.