Celebrating Holidays in China

The most important aspect of every holiday is gathering with family and friends; eating, playing games and enjoying one another’s company. While more Westernized holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day have become important in China, the country is full of rich history and tradition that has spread throughout society and influenced how the Chinese celebrate holidays. We’re going to explore the way locals celebrate their biggest holidays and how, as foreigners, we can get involved in the celebrations! Continue reading “Celebrating Holidays in China”

Meet Maile: From Walt Disney World Resort to Beijing and Disney English!

While I was in college, I had a number of friends that completed the Disney College Program. A program where currently enrolled or recently graduated college students are given the opportunity to work in one of Disney’s parks or resorts. After hearing about their Disney College Program experiences, I knew that I wanted to take part in this amazing opportunity. Following graduation, I found myself working at The Seas with Nemo and Friends in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. While on my program, I fell in love with life at Disney and ended up staying for a full year.

As my time on the Disney College Program came to an end, I knew that I wasn’t done with The Walt Disney Company. While in college, I earned a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate and I had seen information about Disney English on Disney’s internal career network. For me, Disney English was the perfect next step in my career. Just days after attending a Disney English information session, I applied, was scheduled for an interview and was offered a job.

A few months later, I found myself on a flight to Beijing, China. Continue reading “Meet Maile: From Walt Disney World Resort to Beijing and Disney English!”

Learning Chinese from a Native Speaker

Before I moved to China, I had gone out to dinner with some friends. In the moment, I was feeling optimistic, energized and extremely excited to start a new chapter in my book of adventures. While sitting at the table, enjoying our meals and conversation, one of my friends had asked me, “Do you even know any Chinese?” That’s when I froze and my feelings shifted. I became uncertain. I didn’t know Chinese. On my drive home, I thought about all of the new emotions I was having and asked myself, “Why I am feeling like this?” I realized it was the fear of the unknown, of not knowing the language.

A few days later, my bags were packed and my passport was ready for new stamps. I was the one in the driver’s seat and I was in control. I promised myself that I would take Chinese classes once I was settled in Nanjing, China. Continue reading “Learning Chinese from a Native Speaker”

Exploring Thailand: Land of Smiles

With beaches, beautiful temples and elephant sanctuaries, Thailand has become a must visit travel destination for Disney English Foreign Trainers. My days in Thailand were filled with boats, beaches, bejeweled temples and some really big Buddhas. Whether it’s your first time heading to the Land of Smiles or you are looking for new places to explore, here are some ideas for your next adventure! Continue reading “Exploring Thailand: Land of Smiles”

What is a Disney Trainer?

My first day of onboarding is when I met a Disney Trainer for the first time. On her chest was a pin that read ‘Disney Trainer’ with Jiminy Cricket standing proudly; as an avid pin collector, it immediately caught my eye. I acclimated to my life in China, soon became acquainted with my team and my Disney English center. Then I asked my Senior Foreign Trainer — who had the same pin — “What do I need to do to get one of those pins?” With a smile, she looked at her pin and encouraged me to work hard in the classroom so that one day I could also go through the process and become a Disney Trainer. Continue reading “What is a Disney Trainer?”

Meet Rachel: Creating New Adventures in Chengdu

I might be the exception to the rule as most Disney English Foreign Trainers go. The majority of my colleagues are relatively new to teaching and are young enough to be my children.

Me? I taught at a private school in the U.S. for 15 years prior to joining Disney English. Ever the late bloomer, I didn’t start my teaching career until I was in my mid-30s. Before entering the classroom, I was a stay-at-home mom of two rambunctious, but adorable, boys.

At the age of 50, I was offered the prestigious position as head of the English department at the school I worked for, where both my boys had attended from kindergarten to graduation. But I turned it down! Continue reading “Meet Rachel: Creating New Adventures in Chengdu”

Choosing the Right Apartment for Your Lifestyle

Living in China has been a life-changing experience that has altered how I view the world. And a big part of this experience has been having an apartment that reflects my vision for how I want to structure my life outside of work.

One of the first decisions a new Disney English Foreign Trainer needs to make within the first few weeks of arrival is where to live. Prior to that, our Foreign Trainers live in a hotel that is paid for by Disney English. After that, each Foreign Trainer receives a monthly stipend that can cover – or partially cover – his or her housing expenses.

I was filled with excitement at the prospect of choosing my apartment! It made me feel independent as it was up to me to determine the type of apartment, location and whether or not to live with roommates. Continue reading “Choosing the Right Apartment for Your Lifestyle”