First Impressions - Jo Buxton

I have been placed in a developing city called Yiyang in the Hunan province. I have enjoyed my first two months in Hunan immensely, everything is very new and exciting!

Every person I have met has been friendly and helpful, and many people have stopped as I've walked past and welcomed me to China! As far as I can tell I'm the only white female in the city and that gives me some celebrity status, you learn very quickly not to be camera shy, I was even interviewed on Yiyang TV.

The teaching has been a very steep learning curve but my students have been fantastic, they are all very keen to learn about England and other places in the world, photographs have been very popular.

I have not encountered many problems since I have been here, although everything does move very slowly so it’s good to have a lot of patience! It’s also good to be careful when off campus, you’re a very obvious and easy target for pick pockets or people trying to rip you off, bargaining is still a skill I have to learn.

Before I came to China I had been vegetarian for 8 years, but I made the decision to eat meat this year because I thought it would be too difficult. Now I have been here for a while I have realised it’s actually quite easy to be vegetarian, as long as I’m ok to eat vegetables cooked next to meat, or occasionally try things that turn out to be meat.

The country is beautiful, and I have learnt so much in this short time, I would really recommend the experience!