There are young Americans in China, learning Mandarin, and participating fully in Chinese life. Sinosplice has an interesting post about Nathan’s appearance on Chinese TV (above and here):
On this show, each entrant is a job applicant given a chance to explain the type of job he’s looking for and interview with a panel of 12 bosses right there on camera. If all goes well, the bosses make offers to the applicant, and details of salary are discussed right on the show. Finally, the applicant is given a chance to accept the final offers or decline them and leave the stage.
This show is appealing for a number of reasons. There is quite a range of applicants, from young kids with no experience, to senior citizens, to the destitute and desperate, to the physically abnormal. Quite a few of the applicants just plain don’t have much to offer. The “bosses,” who are on the show to promote their own companies, can also say some interesting things. Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects to me is seeing what kind of job offers are made on the show, and what salaries the applicants will accept.
After watching this show for a while, I was surprised to see recently that there was a young American applicant. Unlike 非诚勿扰 (the dating show), which has had quite a few foreigners on the show, I’d never seen it on this show. The applicant was a 25-year-old white American male named Nathan (Chinese name: 尚德). Having lived in Beijing for a while, Nathan spoke pretty solid Chinese, and had no major issues communicating on the show. But the bosses’ reactions to Nathan were not quite what I expected…..
It is a long post, so I’ll just skip to part of Nathan’s reaction:
Sure. I am twenty-five years old, from the US. I have been in China for about four years. I taught English for two and a half years, the last year studying Chinese with a tutor. After that, I have been studying at Beijing International Studies University (北京第二外国语学院）. Next year I will graduate with a degree in Chinese Language. I have been making up quite a few credits as I did not study at a formal institution before coming to BISU. Although I did study at Global Village in 五道口 Beijing (semi-formal I suppose) for a short time.
What made you decide to go on 非你莫属?
I went to 非你莫属 as an audience member with friends from our school tv station. I normally participate in various activities at our school. Some of the employees there suggested that I try for myself – I figured “Why not?”.
So are you saying you weren’t actually seriously applying for a job? You kind of just made something up to see what would happen?
I was serious about applying for a job, but I was very skeptical about being offered anything realistic. Had I been offered 旅游体验师, I would have accepted it. I talked to a headhunter who specifically works with foreigners in China at a reputable firm. Basically, if you were to find someone who was most familiar with my situation, you would ask her. She said that I should ask for 20,000 RMB a month. That is how much I could bring in as an English teacher. I doubt any of the bosses could make me that offer. Actually, the bosses are almost always much less serious about the process than contestants. They are just there to 打酱油 and get free press for their companies. Also, being on TV is fun.....
Again, note: while China is booming with business opportunities and there are some like Nathan, Portland Public Schools refuses to expands its Mandarin immersion program (in spite of sufficient parental/student demand) or to pay anything towards high school students studying in China for a school year.