Meet Darrika: Dreams Coming True in China

As a child I loved traveling, going to school, and like most kids my age, all things Disney. Who would have known, 20 years later, I would be doing something that tied all three together? During my third year of university, I studied abroad in Thailand and spent my free time volunteering with children at a local low-income housing community. I also spent several summers in Laos volunteering at the local primary school reading books, tutoring, and engaging with the students in various activities. It was during these experiences abroad that I realized working with children held a special place in my heart.

I returned home after studying abroad and worked as a pre-kindergarten teacher after graduation. When I finished my first year, the adventurist in me was longing to go back abroad. I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world as I was working and thought what better time to do it, but now? I suddenly stumbled on the job posting for Disney English online. I did some research, applied, accepted and next thing I knew, I was on a plane to China. It has been one of the most spontaneous things I’ve done in my life.

Seeing the Great Wall the first week I arrived made the beginning of my experience in China so real and absolutely thrilling.

As a Senior Foreign Trainer living in Guangzhou, I can say this city has been the ultimate city to live in. It has the perfect balance of traditional Chinese and Cantonese culture, along with Western influences and conveniences. There are tall skyscrapers and beautiful rooftops, but you can also take a peek at the local life and temples that are prominent all over the city.

There are also always new places to explore and day trips to take. One of my favorite things to do in Guangzhou is going out on our weekends and finding these new adventures. It’s also nice to take a trip off the beaten path and get immersed in the local culture. You can visit the many museums, temples and landmarks and when you are hungry, you can always stop for some dim sum, hot pot, noodles and tea.

The Canton Tower is the landmark of Guangzhou located near the Pearl River. The Canton Tower has an observation deck, restaurants, and even a movie theatre where you can see the newest films!

With Guangzhou being situated in the South, I can always find great tickets for a quick weekend getaway. It has been so easy to hop on the plane for the weekend and be back in time for work. I’ve been able to travel to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and more. I can honestly say the adventures are endless. I’ve checked off so many new places from my bucket list since moving to Guangzhou, and I’m always looking forward to new trips to take.

Take a trip to Yangshou, located in the Guanxi Province of southern China, to trade city skyscrapers for majestic mountains and peaceful river views.

I’ve been in China for almost two years and it’s true what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun.” I thought I was going to be here for a bit over a year, but life has a way of shifting things and here I am on my second contract as a Senior Foreign Trainer. While working with Disney English, I have been able to grow with the company through training, coaching and consistent support from my leaders and team members.

Everyone has been so helpful and willing to help me every step of the way. It has been one magical adventure and I say to anyone who is looking to get out of his or her comfort zone and explore something new, this is the job for you as well!

Senior Foreign Trainer
United States

Meet Daniel: Becoming a Native in Beijing

Every morning as I walk through the streets of Beijing with confidence that might insinuate I am a native, I find myself reflecting on my life. Particularly on how I, a boy from Virginia who would watch The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride on repeat while playing with his A Bug’s Life Beanie Babies, wound up living in China working for Disney English. Continue reading “Meet Daniel: Becoming a Native in Beijing”

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!”

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”

Meet Haley: Finding Her ‘Ohana with Disney English

Greetings from Nanjing, China!

I remember my excitement upon receiving a job offer from Disney English. I had already spent the summer of 2015 living in Xi’an, a city known for its Terracotta Warriors. So I squealed with happiness at the realization that I would get to return to China to teach English to children and become part of the Disney family. I was familiar with China, and I was eager to live in a new city, take on a unique role and begin an amazing adventure! Continue reading “Meet Haley: Finding Her ‘Ohana with Disney English”

Meet Ashton: Teacher, Traveler and Tarzan Fan in Guangzhou

Ask any Disney Cast Member, and they can tell you at least one of their favorite Disney characters. The same is true of Ashton, a Foreign Trainer from Australia currently working in Guangzhou; his favorite Disney character is Tarzan.

Tarzan learned to communicate and talk to Jane through hard work, perseverance and fun (and a lot of patience from Jane!).

As a Foreign Trainer for almost two years, Ashton is quite familiar with this communication method, since he must work around language barriers in order to teach and communicate with his students. It’s not always easy, but Disney English provides the materials, teaching methods and lesson plans that make it all possible.

Continue reading “Meet Ashton: Teacher, Traveler and Tarzan Fan in Guangzhou”