Before I moved to China I often was asked “Why would you ever want to live in China”. At that time I myself couldn’t answer this question because I had never lived there. Friends and family did not quite understand the wanderlust that I had developed through my teenage years. I was more comfortable answering why I wanted to go to China. When I first started pondering the idea of moving to a place with such a different culture, heritage, and way of life than the United States, I too was overwhelmed. I truly had no idea of the ride of my life I was about to embark on.


In May 2010 I took a leap of faith, and moved to Chengdu; a major city in the Southwest of China known for its relaxing pace of life, spicy hot pot, and its cutesy panda research base (Which to this day I never actually visited). Ill never forget my first three weeks in China. There are few places in the world that one can experience extreme culture shock. I was lucky enough to have serendipitously ended up in one of them. 老毛 (”Old Mao” – An endearing name that locals still use for Mao  Zedong) would have been proud; My first three weeks were spent wandering through neighborhoods, parks, consuming green tea by the gallon, dancing with locals to Chinese pop music at local clubs, and most importantly learning Mandarin Chinese 6 hours a day at the Southwester University of Finance and Economics.


Four months is the amount of time it took me to gain a grasp on the city of Chengdu. I was practically running the town by now. Okay maybe not… but I had connections all over the place; I even was hired to play superman for a local TV anniversary party; but that’s another story. Just when I finally had adapted to my surroundings in Chengdu, I received a job offer in Beijing; another city which I had absolutely no clue about. Being a person who is never satisfied with stagnation, I decided to again throw myself back into discomfort and relocated to Beijing hoping for more growing pains.


For the next year I worked as a Teacher / Manager / children’s entertainer / parent smooth talker / businessman / and security officer at a newly created school in Wangjing section of Northwest Beijing. Believe me I received the growing pains I had asked for. I arrived in Beijing at the end of the fall season, and had no idea that I had moved to one of the coldest cities on the planet. As a result several weeks later the weather was hovering at a daily high of about 15 degrees and I was frankly freezing to the bone in my icebox of an apartment. Words cannot express how much I learned during this year. Culturally, linguistically, and personally I grew by leaps and bounds.


Fast forward one year. My live abroad experience approached a temporary hiatus. I moved back to South Florida where I was born and raised. Opportunity is the combination of luck and preparation. Luck landed me an opportunity for a job working with several hundred international students. My international experience in china sealed the deal. For the last year I have worked as a housemaster for several hundred international students living at the North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. I am passionate about kids, traveling, and all things China.


I am one who believes that all experiences are learning experiences. I am lucky the vast majority of my experiences in China were good and provided me with invaluable insight for future business and life opportunities in China. Living abroad in China provided me with a rock solid international business foundation, world- class travel opportunities, and priceless lifetime experiences. I will forever feel a strong connection to this country and it is for this reason I started this website and blog; To inform you, share with you, and convince you to go and experience some of the magic that is waiting for you to discover in China.




Matthew Cooper