Some of you have been wondering if we are making any major changes for our next 6 months here…and we are! After much deliberation (guilt, crying, etc. on my part), we decided to look for opportunities outside of teaching. Our program and school have been really accommodating and we have made significant progress in our classrooms, but teaching young kids a very basic English curriculum has not been our ideal challenge. We will definitely be sad to leave the community of Tangshan and its welcoming people and cheap food, but we are off to experience new adventures in Beijing! (And hope to come back and visit.)

I (Erin) currently have an unpaid position with a two-year old NGO that awards fellowships to young entrepreneurs throughout all of Asia. (If you know anyone who may fit the bill, check out http://www.fyse.org or the Paragon Fellowship.) I am currently doing a lot of research/learning regarding the condition of entrepreneurial challenges and existing support in Asia, and particularly China. It will be my task to create a multi-day mentorship program that pairs young female entrepreneurs with prominent Chinese businesswoman. If all goes well and I am able to receive some funding, the job should turn into a paid position. I’m really excited about this challenge because I think the mission is great, the material is interesting, and there is a lot of room for growth and creativity.

Last week we visited Beijing, and David was offered an excellent position as the foreign liaison for a Chinese company that sends students to study and travel in the US. The salary is very good, as are the benefits, and they have even offered to help us find an apartment located in between our two offices. David has already helped out a family with some concerns regarding studying in the states, and will be trying to secure some new partnerships for the organization.

Overall it seems like being a laowei in Beijing is a very marketable “skill” and we feel very lucky to be Americans here. I’m looking forward to meeting more people and eating different types of food in Beijing, but concerned about the dust storms and worst traffic in the WORLD!

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