Pursuit, Career and New Beginnings


Many of us come to Beijing in pursuit of fairly short term goals like obtaining a degree, saving money, or travel; But what about the long term?

We sat down with Janice Matthews, radio host of Touch Beijing to talk about her transition from teaching English in Asia to pursuing her lifelong dream.

Her Move to Asia

Janice’s background in media is extensive. After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a BA in Media Studies & Writing she worked for multiple media houses in South Africa scheduling and producing television programs and editing for online publications.

Unfortunately though, the saturated nature of the media industry in South Africa led Janice and many of her brilliant colleagues to step away from the trade.

“After internships and graduation many graduates struggle to find skillful employment in an organization where there is room for growth (and even error) married with the sense of security a big company gives you.” she elaborates.

While in the process of thinking about where to take her career, a friend from university who had relocated to South Korea encouraged Janice to join her, teaching English in Asia. In October 2012 Janice decided to embark on the start of a five year journey in Asia spending three years teaching English in Korea, another year and a half teaching English in China and 11 months more working as a radio host in Beijing.

Though Janice enjoyed her experience working with children, she quickly came to realise that teaching was not providing her with the challenges she believed she needed to progress. As a result, she decided to find out what else was out there. Her belief has always been that Beijing is not lacking in opportunities.

The Transition

Initially, she did struggle to make the transition. The challenge was not finding opportunities but rather getting over the fear of grabbing the opportunities which were presenting themselves.

Like many who change jobs in Beijing, Matthews learned about the opening at Touch Beijing through word of mouth. For Janice the opportunity materialized due to certain people’s willingness to share information when she expressed her desire to work in the media field here.

Her only regret has been not taking the plunge sooner.

“What I have done over five years is, I have seen opportunities, I ‘favourited’ or saved them and never applied” she says. It was the push to apply from friends and family, and especially from her partner that made the difference in the end.

As a result Janice is now the co-host of Touch Beijing, a radio show with a listenership of 5000 people daily on China’s first and only city – level bilingual radio station which is dedicated to English learning and insight into expats in Beijing, Radio International Beijing. Her show in particular focuses on current events & people, the expat life, interviews with high profile guests and discussions that may be apposite to foreigners.

Getting this kind of experience in media is definitely an important step in Janice’s ascend to the top. As much as she enjoys working on radio, her ultimate goal is to be in front of the lens as a host. Her ambition is to make it to ‘Barbara Walter’s level’.

So, why leave? Janice is now at yet another crossroad. She will leave China in December to continue her pursuit of ‘next level opportunities’ in South Africa and Washington D.C which can help her grow further in her craft.

Bidding a dieu to this city, Janice notes that living in China has taught her how to throw herself in the deep end and stay afloat. This has in a lot of ways aided her in being more kind to herself when she makes mistakes, which is a lesson she feels will serve her well moving forward.

Checkout Touch Beijing every day at 5pm on www.am774.com frequency 92.3FM/744AM

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