Beijing is one of the world’s biggest and craziest cities. When I recently decided to teach English in Beijing for a year, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into before going there. I didn’t know a whole lot about it before getting on the plane, except that there is somewhere in the range of 20 million people in the city and general region surrounding it. Coming from a pretty small town, I knew that this would be an experience that would be at least a little overwhelming and shocking for me.
But I had been wanting to teach English overseas for a long time and I also wanted to go somewhere that I’d have lots of chances to practice my photography and get lots of great pictures to show my family and friends. I knew that China is definitely one of the most culturally rich and diverse places in the world and I figured that the capital would have endless opportunities available for me to practice my skill and grab some great shots.
When I first arrived it was even more overwhelming than I expected it to be. It’s hard to describe the experience of being in Beijing. It’s not just the crazy amount of people, but also all the smells from the street food, the noise from the buses and motorcycles everywhere, and just the general feeling of being in a place that’s so alive. There really are no words for it, so you’ll just have to go to Beijing and experience it for yourself. There’s simply no other way to actually know what the city is like.
I have done my best to capture what the city makes me feel like with my photos. I think I’ve done a good job with this and I hope that you enjoy my photos of Beijing. The things I won’t be able to catch on film are the experiences I had with my students and all the other people that I met in Beijing. People were so friendly and welcoming to me and I made many new friends that will be with me for life while there.
I have decided that I ant to go back for longer and stay there as an expat. Maybe spend the rest of my life there if things go as planned. I am going to go back for a second round of teaching English and spend a lot of time doing freelance photography work there as well. I found that I could walk in any direction and within a few minutes I’d have dozens and dozens of opportunities for great shots all around me.
If you’re looking to experience some fun in life, I definitely recommend you go teach English in Beijing. It truly is one of the world’s great cities and you’ll never be bored when you’re living there. In fact, your only problem will be that there’s simply too much awesome stuff to do in Beijing and never enough time to do it all.