Connie’s Updates of Returning to China as an Amity Foundation Teacher

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The message from my Chinese college’s foreign affairs director was heartbreaking. 

 “Connie,” it read.  “We are so sorry.  Amity has ended the teaching program. We will not invite you back.” 

For 24 years, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries partnered with China’s Christian-founded service organization, the Amity Foundation, to place me as an educator at struggling colleges in China.   

Since 1987, Amity has been inviting foreign language teachers to teach at  small universities and junior colleges whose budgets couldn’t pay top salaries for a foreigner. Colleges in China offer majors in business, international trade and English education. Furthermore, Chinese PhD candidates wishing to study overseas or those doing research, hoping to be published in international journals, must have their articles written in English, the common language for such publications. All of this requires students choosing from numerous selected courses in our language, thus the importance of dedicated, qualified English language teachers in the country. Many higher educational institutions in China can’t afford insurance, flight fees and bonuses which larger, more prominent Chinese universities can.    Thus Amity has stepped in by offering an Amity Foundation Teacher, one committed to service rather than wealth. 

I have been very honored to be a teacher through this uplifting, vital program.  When I became stranded in the States due to Covid, with China closing its borders during the pandemic, it was devastating.  While I’ve been very grateful to my denomination for giving me a USA position (Mission Advocate for the North Central Jurisdiction), it hasn’t been the same as teaching.  

Now China has finally opened.  But after anxiously awaiting for 3 years to return to Luzhou Vocational and Technical College, I have been told the Amity Teaching program has come to an end.  

In a recent Zoom meeting, it was fully explained the reasons behind this. 

First, the Amity Foundation status at sponsoring schools is becoming problematic.   China is divided into 31 provinces, which are similar to America’s 50 states.  During these 3 years of Covid, without my presence, my position as an Amity Foundation teacher was not reinstated in Sichuan Province.  In fact, I was told the provincial government denied Amity’s application because the officials didn’t understand why an organization located in Jiangsu Province was requesting to have a foreign teacher employed in Sichuan Province.  The strong ties Amity had with government officials in Sichuan since 2001 had, sadly, disintegrated during the Covid years.  

Secondly, the number of Amity teachers has dwindled.  We used to have 40 to 50  instructors from all over the world who taught in this program.  But over the years, this has not been the case. Many teachers couldn’t commit to living several years overseas without adequate salaries.  Advertising among denominations and service organizations for possible Amity teachers in China also diminished.  Plus the request by colleges for Amity teachers plummeted as China became more prosperous, with schools becoming financially sound enough  to hire their own teachers at competitive pay scale.  In 2020, I was the last Amity Foundation teacher left standing.  All of my colleagues had left due to retirement, health reasons or monetary constraints. 

Thirdly, Amity staff is stretched too thin.  The Amity Teaching Program is  a minuscule part of Amity’s education division.  The cost of the program, staff involvement, and paperwork involved was just not feasible for only one person, myself. 

 Lastly, Global Ministries  requires partnership between its in-country organizations and our placements. If the placement ends, or is no longer viable or needed, we move on to where we can be of better service.

Discussions are underway of sending me to a different country where my skills as an English teacher can be of more help.  I should know where that will be in a few weeks. So exciting!!

As for my apartment on my college campus in China, when the time comes,  I will be returning to clear out, pack up and send my things onward to my next teaching position. I will have the ability to say goodbye, sing with my church choir once again, enjoy numerous farewell banquets, and lead a few English language seminars for interested students and colleagues.  Absolutely, I will have the necessary closure to emotionally, mentally and spiritually depart from the country and people that have so warmly embraced me these many years.

Be following this space for more news from me! (See below our recently taken church directory photo: me, China rescue Bridget and my mom, Priscilla. Yes, I’m still living with Mom in her “new” little house. And, yes, I am a VERY grateful, and feel extremely blessed, to have such a wonderful mother.)


About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
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1 Response to Connie’s Updates of Returning to China as an Amity Foundation Teacher

  1. Jean Marsh says:


    I know you are disappointed. I am glad you will have an opportunity to say goodbye and worship with your church before your departure for another country. Prayers for your journey. I’ll continue to follow your journey! It’s been educational for us, too! I still think of some of the people you have “introduced” us to in your writings. I think about them, wonder where they are, how they are, and so forth. Such a link to these people will forever leave an impact of connection, regardless of what the nations of this world do to be greedy, selfish, and a danger to peace and well-being!

    Thank you. Prayers.

    Jean in Texas

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