Interview with Waseem Ahmed Abbasi — A Pakistani in China 🇵🇰 🇨🇳
Waseem Ahmed Abbasi is literally #goals — not only does he has a Masters in Linguistics, but he is currently studying in China while teaching English on the side. Someday, he hopes to teach English full time in China. Let’s get to know Waseem even more!
Tell us about your upbringing. What was life like in Pakistan, where did you go to school, and have you always known deep down that you’d eventually become a globetrotter?
I have been brought up in a business-oriented and educated family. Being the youngest among all the siblings, I have always been pampered and had all attention on me from all the family members. My siblings were there for me always whenever I needed them, whether it related to studies or personal problems.
Life in Pakistan is awesome—I was living in Karachi, known as the City of Lights (in other words, the city that never sleeps). It’s an economic hub of Pakistan, which makes Karachi also culturally diverse city. People from all over Pakistan choose to work here.
I went to private schools under the Cambridge education system. Pakistan’s education system is very strong; English is an official language and it is easy to roam around the country without having any communication barrier.
I like meeting new people, making friends, exploring different cultures; all this lead me to travel to new places. I love traveling, whenever I get some time I embark on journeys to new places. I have been to more than 40 cities in China in a short span of three years—even some Chinese people haven’t been to that many cities! 🙂
Are you fascinated with learning languages — and why? What excites you about the English language?
As I mentioned above, I love exploring different cultures, therefore languages fascinate me and help me to understand that culture more deeply. English is a global language—wherever you go, you should know basic English to survive there.
Now let’s chat China. It is SUCH a cool country, and a great place to teach English abroad. What attracted you to moving here?
China has a rich culture, and since childhood, I have heard a lot about this cool country. I got offered to pursue my PhD from the government of Pakistan in a few selected countries, and China was among one of them. I didn’t think for a second and decided to move to China to pursue my higher education goal.
Has it been difficult to juggle life as a student and as a part-time teacher?
Yes, in the start it was bit tough, but gradually you manage your time. My PhD program doesn’t have classes, as it’s a research based degree. Therefore, whenever I use to have time, I take my laptop, go to nearby coffee shop, grab a drink, and start working on my research.
Did your TEFL certificate help prepare you adequately for the life of an ESL teacher in China? Tell us about your overall impressions.
Yes, it did eventually. I learnt a lot of techniques during my TEFL certification and I applied few of them in my class and they went pretty well. The TEFL offered by Premier TEFL is so far the best; before enrolling for TEFL, I did a lot of research and found out only Premier TEFL is the cheapest among all. Their support team is awesome, specially Frankie was very helpful during the whole duration.
Are there many Pakistani individuals living and working in China? What advice do you have to help future teachers in China build community?
There are lot of Pakistani individuals, most of them are medical students and some of them also teach English part time. Pakistani individuals have an edge over other nationalities since English is their official language.
My advice? Work hard—we foreigners get lot of respect in China, so we should not misuse that.
How’s your Chinese? 😉
Aah my Chinese, my Chinese is superb even though I have never studied Chinese in class. I can speak Chinese fluently but I can’t read and write Chinese characters, except a few basic characters.
Okay, but for real. What’s your favorite part about living in China?
Food is awesome, the people are very warm and nice (especially to foreigners), there are plenty of tourism sports… in short, China will never let you get bored!
Tell us about your long term/future goals.
My future plan is to find a permanent teaching job in China, most preferably in some university teaching Business English.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
China is great place to pursue your career. If you have not been here, then you must come here! Don’t believe everything written on internet. Secondly, if you are looking forward to teaching English in a non-native country, then get your hands on Premier TEFL’s 240 hour course—it has everything, it is affordable, and will make you to become a better teacher.
倒福 to you, Waseem! Thank you!