From Giza to Zhejiang: Interview with Issy Hossam
You don’t meet incredible folks like Issy everyday. Hailing from Giza, Egypt, Issy is in pursuit of an international life. What started as an interest in pushing his comfort zone has evolved into what you see now: an adventure-filled life abroad as an ESL teacher. Let’s learn more about his journey to Zhejiang Province, China thus far and where he’s headed!
Tell us about yourself! What makes Issy, Issy?
Hello! I am Issy… What makes me, me is the experiences I have faced and the choices I have made through my life. These failures and messed up moments are what made me who I am today. And I am thankful for them because they always shape your life and personality.
You have a really badass multicultural background. Tell us about it! Were your parents/family supportive of your decision to teach abroad? How did they feel about your earlier travels abroad?
Yes, I am from Egypt. It was one of the greatest civilizations in the world. Actually, my parents weren’t really supportive—they kept telling me that moving to a country such as China would be risky since I don’t know the language, the food, or the people and that made me kinda worried. But sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and not listen to the people around you (even if they are the closest to you). Right now, I can say that it is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. And I made my mother proud and she’s really happy for me now.
Where do you hope to teach abroad someday and why?
I am already teaching in China now and it is my first year. I am probably gonna stay here for a few years and get more experience. Who knows? Maybe I’ll move to another country someday.
What makes teaching abroad an attractive pursuit for you? Can you tell us about it and how it motivates your work?
Actually, I was inspired by my cousins—they came here to China to work as English teachers too, while I was stuck in Egypt working in what would I like to call “crappy jobs.” Then, one day, I decided that enough was enough and I should do something interesting. It had always been my dream to go abroad and have a job and experience new cultures.
What advice would you give other young teachers about starting and sticking with their plan to teach abroad?
Always follow your heart and don’t listen to people who are always trying to bring you down or discourage you. Get out of your comfort zone and just know when you get out of it, that’s when the real you is unleashed. You will do things that you never thought that you would do you will broaden your horizons and have a more open mind and you will know that the center of the world will not be revolved around you.
What are you most nervous about when it comes to life abroad?
Before coming here, I was really nervous about everything. I didn’t have friends and I didn’t know the Chinese language and it was the first time for me to travel abroad alone. But, guess what—it’s really great! It helps you to be more independent.
What insider tips do you have for future young men considering teaching abroad?
Learn about the culture, learn some sentences in the language, try to have a lot of friends. As for me, Chinese people are really friendly and I’m lucky to call many of them friends. They are really helpful and friendly.
Thank you! Merry travels and happy teaching!