By: Alyssa Driscoll
I just booked a trip to South Korea, which is really exciting and fun. One of the biggest perks of working abroad is seeing not just your home city, but so many others cities and countries. Especially coming from the east coast of the United States to Asia. It’s incredible. So vacations, how do they work?
In China there are two week-long holidays, one in October and one in February. For these two holidays the whole country is basically off. When you sign up for a school, it’s common to have these two weeks paid off. These are travel days for the whole country, meaning the 300 USD plane ticket to Japan jumps to 800 USD during these weeks. In October, the holiday is a chance for everyone to travel so the top tourist locations are super packed. In February though, the point of the holiday is to go home and visit family. During this week the main attractions might shut down, and a lot of restaurants could too.
The spring is also littered with several three day weekends that you may or may not get off. I believe training schools give days off less often than elementary and high schools. When you work for a university, you have the chance to get more time off. You will often have summers off and a few more week long breaks during the school year. Each job comes with a little bit of a different offer for time off since China has an incredible need for teachers and a varying level or requirement.
I’m going on a little vacation in November though, because I have to do a visa run. I am currently on a tourist visa, this means every sixty days I need to go leave China. It can be as simple as crossing the border in Hong Kong or Mongolia, or I can make a trip of it and go to South Korea, Thailand, or Japan. The only catch is that these are not paid days off. When I take a visa run vacation I try to make sure it only lasts a weekend. This way I take minimal time off, and I’m able to keep most of my pay.
Because my visa requires me to leave China, I have been able to see so many different countries in Asia: Islands, cities, countryside, and so many rich pockets of history. Some favorites of mine and other travelers are Seoul in South Korea, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Tokyo, Japan, and all the beaches in Thailand and the Philippines. These visa runs can be expensive. There isn’t a discount airline like Easyjet or Ryanair. For that reason, the main cost of trips is the airfare. Aside from that cost, these trips are awesome. I hadn’t researched many places in Asia to visit until I moved here and realized just how easy it is to see a new country.
Of course, China is huge and you may want to spend your vacation time exploring this massive country! There is a program called CET Trip that organizes trips across this country. They range from group outings to a trampoline park to 300 km bike trails through Yunnan province. This program is a great way to explore with other foreigners or to have a whole trip planned for you. If I could throw this idea out there, a noodle tour of China is a great way to spend a week long break in February. Anyone in?
In her seventeenth year of age, tragedy struck Alyssa’s family and they moved to Switzerland! This, of course, turned out to be an amazing opportunity and she developed a love for language and travel. Read more about Alyssa.