Jerrika shares her experiences after participating in the AYC Program from 2013 to 2014.
"I joined the AYC program immediately after graduating from undergrad. I was placed at a private boarding school in the city of Shenzhen with very little prior knowledge of China, Chinese culture, and the Chinese language. I left China with more knowledge of the culture but still struggle with my grasp of the language.
While in Shenzhen, I received a couple of opportunities to work with high school students preparing them for life and educational opportunities in Western countries. It was through these experiences that I realized I was interested in education management and after my time with Ameson, I looked for positions in this field.
I traveled and worked in South Korea for a few months immediately after my time with Ameson and then landed my dream position as a Western Counselor for a national education management company. This position allowed me to come back to China, initially in the city of Nanjing and then back to Shenzhen. In this role, I worked directly with high school juniors and seniors speaking to them about everything from preparing for a Skype interview to planning out their summer extra curricular activities.
It was also during my second time round in China that I decided to create Black Travel Library (https://www.blacktravellibrary.com/). I was interested in creating a directory of travelers and people living abroad to make finding information about life abroad easier for those who had never traveled before. As a directory, Black Travel Library now has about 80 listings of Youtubers, bloggers, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, and more. We've even branched into creating our own activity companion book called Thoughts While Waiting, available on Amazon and CreateSpace, and hope to branch into travel planners in the future.
Currently, I am preparing for work in the Washington DC area and have found that many of the skills that I picked up, formally or informally, while abroad have really helped make me a better job candidate than I realized.
I'm very glad for the opportunities that my participation in AYC in 2013 provided me. First, the ability to see the world outside of my hometown and explore a region I hadn't known much about. Second, the ability to learn about myself and most importantly my boundaries. (Additionally, I learned that I love experimenting with cooking and bleach is my favorite cleaning agent lol) Third, being given a direction for my career path that I hope to continue to follow. I don't know exactly when I will be in China again, but I definitely feel that China will be a part of my future."