My wife and I have lived in Weihai for 3 months now. Moving here was our first time ever travelling outside of the US. The city itself is clean, and the pollution is not noticeable on the average day. The neighborhood where most of our teachers live is in a beautiful location. From my building, the ocean is 6 blocks away, a standard grocery store is about 3 blocks away, and an athletic park with a large walking track, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, one “turf” soccer field, and badmitton courts is less than 1 mile away. The courts are resurfaced every year, so my wife and I have loved playing tennis on newly surfaced courts and have even met some of our students there to play a Saturday morning doubles match! There are also outdoor exercise parks, a dry cleaner/tailor, several affordable and tasty restaurants, a few pharmacies, and a few cafes all within walking distance of our apartment. For those things that are outside of walking distance, the public transportation here is extremely cheap (bus – 1 RMB; taxi starts at 7 RMB). Our teachers feel very safe, even when walking alone at night. One of the greatest challenges we have faced is that almost nobody outside of our ZIS staff speaks any English. However, once we learned how to count, to give basic directions, and to say “this” in Chinese while pointing at what we want, we have gotten along just fine. One of our favorite things about Weihai is the cheap, fresh produce. Every Saturday, I buy about 25 lbs of fresh vegetables and fruits from a local farmers’ market and only spend around 40-50 RMB (under $10 USD!).
We feel very blessed to be a part of such a tight-knit community of faculty and staff at ZIS. Because of our commonality in worldview, we have found it very easy to make new friends among the ZIS staff. We truly feel like we have joined a family of individuals who are trying to grow both professionally and personally, together. We do not have formal training in education, yet our superiors and colleauges have been very supportive in helping us transition into our roles as teachers in the school. We are encouraged to integrate our worldview into our lessons when possible, which is a unique opportunity to offer such hollistic education to our students. One other aspect that we appreciate about the Zhongshi staff is the spectrum of ages and experience represented. There are many recent college graduates among the faculty, but there are also seasoned veterans who have been in the profession for more than a decade. Wherever you are in your teaching career, Zhongshi is a great place to be!