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Old 06-30-2018, 09:36 AM
 
11 posts, read 6,801 times
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I am looking to teach English in China as a way to immerse myself in a new culture, learn Mandarin, and grow skills and employability. My long-term career goals do not include teaching English. Ideally I would like an international career working with diverse groups of people on issues involving sustainable food production and the like. I was wondering if as a foreigner it would be possible for me to volunteer in projects or groups involving urban community gardening, or indoor agriculture? I am interested in less polluted cities like Kunming, Xiamen, and Fuzhou (would also really appreciate suggestions for cities and explanations why)

I am really excited by China's is rapid growth and innovation as it increasingly employs green technologies and infrastructures, and would like to progress from teaching English to a job working in this area.

Possible? Not possible? Advice?
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Old 06-30-2018, 02:25 PM
 
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I have no knowledge about it, but food production (if selling to public) tends to be highly regulated and controlled by the government.
Urban community gardening is popular in China. I know some people rent small fields and plant vegetables for themselves.
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,473 posts, read 1,698,732 times
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My first guess is that China has a huge and well educated citizenry, fully capable of competently taking care of its own development needs, and doesn't need someone who is not a native speaker familiar with the culture. China is not a third world country anymore, where Care packages and Peace Corps are eagerly awaited. Just as Hong Kong or Singapore are not places that have a thirst for outside expertise.

This is not a put-down, I think your goals are admirable. But in the real world, probably not a career path you can depend on.
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
My first guess is that China has a huge and well educated citizenry, fully capable of competently taking care of its own development needs, and doesn't need someone who is not a native speaker familiar with the culture. China is not a third world country anymore, where Care packages and Peace Corps are eagerly awaited. Just as Hong Kong or Singapore are not places that have a thirst for outside expertise.

This is not a put-down, I think your goals are admirable. But in the real world, probably not a career path you can depend on.
I think you are completely wrong to be honest. The number of foreigners working in China is increasing exponentially and in many non-traditional areas. China does have a lot of wealth and educated people, but it has significantly more poor and uneducated. China just created a new ministry for immigration and visas to handle all the foreigners coming to China.

Both Singapore and Hong Kong both still have large foreigner populations working in all sorts of industries. I have non native relatives working in all three of those places. One is a doctor in Beijing, one works for a corporation in Singapore, and one is a manager of a plant in Hong Kong. The manager in Hong Kong is the only one fluent in mandarin.

The OP has clearly stated he wants to learn mandarin and learn the culture, if he really wants to do that and actually does it, then there will be many opportunities available in the future. Im not saying it would be an easy path full of open doors, but I do believe itís entirely possible.

China is still in its golden time period and it would be a great time to go to China even if your plans donít go through like you imagine. Who knows what door may open.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:57 AM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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I see your point. But in the countries you mentioned, the foreign workers are highly skilled and well educated specialists who bring special talent levels into the country. They, for the most part, are not unskilled people who learned on the job. The native Chinese already have a head start for those jobs.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:32 AM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,648,077 times
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Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
I see your point. But in the countries you mentioned, the foreign workers are highly skilled and well educated specialists who bring special talent levels into the country. They, for the most part, are not unskilled people who learned on the job. The native Chinese already have a head start for those jobs.
Everyone starts somewhere and the op isnít going to start by jumping into this unknown career. Heís working on a plan to get there in a few years. Chinese companies love having foreigners involved, it helps with their legitimacy, helps with communicating to global companies, can help with outside financing, and can bring new ideas and a new perspective. For example the op could run a green tech public relations office setting up meetings with likeminded foreign organizations and businesses.

There are now 1+ million expats living in China, the majority are English teachers, but there are lots of opportunities available. Iím involved in a general import/export company and a wine import company. Trade is easily the 2nd largest expat employer in China. I also plan on opening a restaurant in China in the next few years.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:37 PM
 
11 posts, read 6,801 times
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Thanks for the response. Like I said my purpose is to learn so I have no expectations that I would come in and be a highly sought after individual for established operations. As I am looking to volunteer how do you feel local Chinese people are in engaging foreigners in this capacity? Are they typically interested in helping outsiders and having them around etc?
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:39 PM
 
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You might like to read Mark Salzman's "Iron and Silk."
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,473 posts, read 1,698,732 times
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I'm not saying that the OP cannot or should not do it, but only warning that there are hurdles that will need to be overcome.

I went to Jordan on similar terms in the 1970s. There were only three or four of us in the whole country who just walked in and looked for a job. Several hundred more foreigners were all there, specialists recruited abroad, and paid bonus salaries under contract. My wife was an RN and was eagerly hired by a government hospital, but they were restricted to paying only local wages to her because she was not recruited abroad and partly paid by the sponsoring NGO. That may or may not be the case in China today, but it was a difficulty we had to overcome then.
I had to scramble around trying to find work, but after a couple of years, I had established enough contacts that gainful prospects were developed. But never really very enriching like the expat specialists.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:45 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,962 posts, read 70,771,627 times
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OP, do you have a background in agriculture? Do you have a certificate to teach English as a foreign language? Or a degree in English? Check out the Peace Corps. It's a good thing to have on your resume (employability-wise), and you'll definitely learn a lot from the experience. They take people in agriculture, and also teaching English. Their website should tell you what the minimum qualifications are, and what countries they serve.
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