Glengormley man Patrick praises country and urges people to visit
A Northern Ireland teacher living in China has said he would “definitely encourage” anyone thinking of visiting the country to do so — and ignore any pandemic-linked preconceptions.
Patrick Quinn, who is from Glengormley, moved there in 2017 following what he describes as a ‘mid-life crisis’.
The 39-year-old said the country is a “fantastic place to work and live”, and people would be “crazy” not to come and experience it for themselves.
He explained how he moved to China to develop his career, feeling he wasn’t using his university degree to its full potential.
“I was working in fashion retail and then management, but I always thought I needed to use my degree in business studies. I looked at my qualifications and thought now was the time to do something with them,” he said, speaking from a coffee shop in China.
Patrick then returned to his studies, gaining a PGCE teaching qualification in England before coming back to Northern Ireland in the hopes of helping people as a teacher.
He soon cast his career net further and after looking originally to move to Dubai, he settled on China — even though he had never visited the country before.
“China is the opposite of the end of the world, and after I put my CV online, I started to get some emails about maybe going there to work and just decided to bite the bullet,” he said.
Once settled, he began his role as International School Principal in Changshu, near Shanghai, where he teaches English to kindergarten children.
He was living in China as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold nearly two years ago and said the country took big steps to manage the crisis early on.
Patrick is adamant China is a fantastic place to work and live, adding: “If given the opportunity to come here, people would be crazy not to take it.
"I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.”
“I feel super safe here, it’s so under control, if there are just two cases they act quickly with testing, and it means our case count is so low.
“I look at the news in Belfast and sometimes compare the numbers to the thousands a week sometimes in Northern Ireland.”
It was recently reported that the port city of Tianjin near Beijing had begun testing its entire population of 14 million after just 20 people tested positive for Covid — with at least two cases believed to be the Omicron variant.
“I can see why China takes it so seriously though, and whilst it may look a bit extreme sometimes, their reputation already was damaged from it, so they have to act like this,” added Patrick.
He says he has been saddened by a rise in anti-Asian and racist comments directed towards Chinese people across the world, widely believed to be linked to the pandemic.
Covid restrictions permitting, outside of his working life, Patrick says he enjoys China’s lifestyle and is looking forward to celebrating a low key Chinese New Year on February 1.
“China is like an attack on the senses, everyone acts so differently to Belfast but everyone is so nice,” he added.
“They’re a bit obsessed with foreigners, so I always get people coming up to me wanting to talk, some people even want your telephone number.”