Teach in China
The ESL industry teaching English in China is growing stronger and faster than ever before, the incredible demand of foreign teachers are luring a huge wave of native English speakers for employment. Also, due to the enormous potential of the international market, Chinese companies are starting to hire foreign staff to grow their overseas business and explore foreign markets. The rapid rise of the Chinese economy has aroused the curiosity and interest of foreigners towards Chinese culture. Recently, Teaching in China is becoming more and more common among foreigners. However, because of the huge gap between the cultures, the adventure can be both an exciting and daunting challenge for even the most resolute expats. This guide is to help you find out key and useful information about teaching and living abroad, giving you a clear idea what it would be like.
1. The recommended personality to teach english abroad
To be successful teaching english abroad, naturally your responsibility is to take good care of your students and instruct them with your professional knowledge and best efforts. Nevertheless, it is always of great importance to understand that teaching english abroad is a totally different story from any past experience of teaching back home you may have. You'll be impressed with the general discipline and relative ease of teaching, high salary and high level of lifestyle, however you'll always have to be adaptable to change. First, of course, you have to be adventurous and positive to make the decision to leave. Then you need to be confident in interviews as well as organized to prepare the required documents and apply for your visa, book flights and make the adventurous move to teach english abroad, as well as keeping an open mind as you will feel culture shock in your first 2-3 weeks overseas. Patience and good temper are considered good personality traits no matter where you are going to teach. Bear in mind that good communication skills can save you a lot of hassle and time since the Chinese have a totally different way of thinking and communicating with others. Always try to identify the emotion of the people you speak with and respond in a smart way accordingly. Last but not least, to be a problem solver yourself instead of hoping someone, can be invaluable during your entire adventure teaching English abroad.
2. What to expect before you decide to teach in China
You'll immediately notice the increased number of people as most cities are quite densely populated in China, however you will be living a very comfortable life with extra money to spend as your teaching job will pay a high salary and the living costs are around 10 times less than back home. Asian food, is a clear winner living and working in China as Chinese food is famous for its great variety and unique taste and it's far tastier and abundant in variety compared to your local Chinese restaurant. In addition the warmth and welcoming feeling of the people is sure to be comforting. Foreigners in China are incredibly well looked after by local Chinese and you'll regularly be invited to dinners, drinks or on outings, always free. Invitations will come from everywhere, perhaps your neighbor, people at work and new friends you may even meet on the bus!
Of course, if you are a frequent traveler and Asian culture lover, you will immediately be at home since China has a huge territory and the local culture and scenery varies from place to place.
3. Salary expectations and living costs
If you teach abroad, expect to be paid 8,000 RMB to 12,000 RMB monthly for teaching in China, even if you do not have any teaching experience. The final amount depends on elements such as location, type of school and students, working hours and so on. Your qualifications and experience will have an effect on your salary as well high paying jobs normally ask for elevated requirements and qualifications. You shouldn't expect the top salaries if you've never been to China or taught before; 8,000-10,000RMB per month is your general aim for first time teachers.
Benefits should be considered as these cover a majority of your living costs (travel reimbursement, accommodation and meals or allowance, paid utility bills and medical insurance etc.). For living costs, it depends a great deal on the city and the way you are going to live. Major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen will cost you more, although still incredibly cheap compared with back home (6-7 times cheaper).
If you're looking to save money teaching english, Eating Chinese food instead of your usual Western food, staying at home instead of going to the bar frequently could mean you only need 2,000 to 3,000 RMB per month to live. 6,000 to 8,000 RMB per month and you'll find you can buy anything, go to any bar or restaurant whenever you feel and live in a fancy apartment.
4. Finding a job, teach abroad
Finding a job teaching English in China is not very hard and there are always opportunities available for native English speakers. If you have obtained a Bachelor’s degree and TEFL certificate, the possibilities will be higher. There are several ways of finding teaching jobs in China: consult an agent or visit China job board and classifieds. Using an agency to help you find a job in China may be discouraged by some, however a good agency will ensure your final employer is reliable, honest and suitable for you. Due to the abundance of poorly managed schools and employers you may find choosing to go out on your own not such a good idea. If you are looking for guaranteed, excellent, trustworthy employers check out our jobs here: http://china.findworkabroad.com/jobs.
Choosing a suitable location should not be a tough decision, even though you may have offers in several cities. Cities in China are very similar, even those thousands of miles away from each other. You should only concern yourself with two major factors.
1) The size of the city
2) The geographic location
In China, major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the most expensive and populated cities to live and span the 10-30 million residents level. Regardless, they can offer an abundant number of job opportunities – Are generally more suited to those with previous experience in China. Second or third tier cities such as Zhuhai, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Zhejiang, Hangzhou (around the 3-6 million residents mark) are cheaper to live and most of them are situated in a beautiful and pleasant environments, especially by the sea.
When selecting a geographic location you should ask yourself if you prefer hot, cold or mild weathers. If you prefer the heat, target your job search to the Guangdong area (Zhuhai, Foshan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen), the milder climates are Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao and if you prefer the cooler seasons Harbin is for you.
5. Requirements to Teach in China
In general, under Chinese policy, you are required to possess a passport from an English speaking country (UK, USA, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Australia, South Africa), Bachelor’s degree (or Science degree or Higher), TEFL certificate (60 hours or 120 hours) and 2 years post graduate experience to be qualified for a working visa to teach in China. Sometimes you have to pay the visas and flight tickets yourself upfront, these are nearly always reimbursed at the end of your contract. Visas normally cost you approximately $50USD-$200USD and single flight tickets are around $500 to $1000USD based on where you are from. Note that you are required to complete a body check before coming to China to teach. If you obtain a Science degree, you can have a shot on jobs of teaching Math or Science in international schools (which would give you a lot more salary since not many people are capable of doing this). If you are already a teacher in your home country and possess a teaching certificate, you are surely more likely to be hired and can expect comparative salary to back home (Keep in mind your living costs will be 10x less, so you'll be able to save big). What’s more, actually, even without the certificates and experience, or if you are a non-native with a good accent, you are likely to find a job teaching in China as well.
6. Future work possibilities after you Teach in China
After one or two years teaching in China, you can easily find a higher paying teaching job or teaching manager in large cities Or if you are willing to try something new, find some non-teaching jobs such marketer, accountant, designer or manager (some of them require candidates to speak some Chinese). Or go back to your home country to look for jobs which requires international awareness and experience of living and working in Asian countries.