Ann-Marie Russell




Where do I begin?


For years I wanted to come to China, to wander along the road less travelled, after 2 years in Australia & many shorts stays in other countries I took the leap, the step & the flight; & so I found myself in Anqing, and what can I say? “I’m in love”


Ireland is a small island country with a population of a little more than 4.5 million people; and China, well it couldn’t be more different, geographically & culturally!


Anqing, for me, is so different to any where in the world I have ever been, with her bumpy streets, mountainous views & old cultural feel to the city.   The local people have really gone out of their way & expressed more patience than I thought possible, when dealing with me, investing so much time in communicating despite our massive language barrier!  So far, there have been many heart felt laughs & stories shared by just pointing & miming.


Teaching at the Anqing Foreign Language School is really an honour & a privilege; I feel a part of something more than just teaching staff.  The children are enthusiastic about learning, eager & fun kids.  My most amazing experience so far has definitely been the warmth & eagerness of my students & their acceptance of this new foreigner here to teach them.  They are always ready to say “hello” when they pass me, & are eager for me to join in games with them outside of class as well as being extremely helpful; some are great ping pong teachers, others are great fun to talk to, each student unique & special in his/her own way & helping to make China the wonderful place it is showing itself to be!  The students make China one of the best, most fun places I’ve ever been & the people I’ve met double it. 


Let me sum up with 3 lines from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” that express what Anqing means to me:


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference