A really interesting part of Beijing is the many opportunities for foreigners to earn money, especially students. Last summer when I was studying in Beijing, a few local students who were developing a hand writing software program approached me. They paid me two hundred Yuan to write a few sentences on a cell phone and on a tablet.
The other day, a Chinese student approached a friend of mine, he was looking for two native English speakers, to help judge an English speaking competition in ZhangJiaKou (a city in nearby Hebei province).
We took a six a.m. train to Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing. After having lunch, we went to the competition. It was held in a big hotel ballroom of sorts, and it had a stage and many seats for all the parents. The competition was for students from grades 2 through 7. Our job as judges was to read off first a Chinese sentence, and have the students translate them into English, and then read an English sentence, and have the students translate it back into Chinese. We as judges were scoring the students on their fluency, pronunciation and clarity.
This was the first part of the competition. The second part was short plays, all 6 grades, 2 through 7, did the same play, Cinderella. It was really funny, especially since the plays were all exactly the same. The last part of the contest was 6 students who all sang the same song. This was also really fun, since the kids were all dressed up and I could see they really tried their best.
After the competition, my friend and I had a photo-shoot with the kids. It seemed like the kids had not seen Westerner’s before. Even during the competition, some kids would stare, and parents would take pictures of us. It was really a great experience, and I earned some money as well. I guess this is part of the China experience, doing strange and odd jobs, just for the stories.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Jason Klanderman, originally from Chicago, grew up in Amsterdam. He has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia. He is an International Politics, History and Global and International Studies triple major, with a minor in Chinese at Penn State University. When not in State College, where he is currently living, you can find him traveling between Amsterdam, Singapore, and various other places, visiting family and friends. His hobbies include reading, writing, cooking and going to the gym. Read about his experiences as he tackles the middle kingdom, China, during his spring semester 2013.</span></p>