“Why work and teach English in China?” you might ask.
China might seem an unrealistic option for some people, but in fact, it’s so the opposite!
China welcomes to teach English – native or non-native ones – as the language is constantly in high demand: more than 390 million people here are learning or have learned it before.
It’s also among the best-paying countries to teach English!
‘Do I have the qualifications?’ you might ask. Actually, if you speak fluently, have the courage and feel like teaching children or adults, you are ready to apply.
In Chinese schools, you don’t need a TEFL or TESOL certificate or any prior experience (it’s a big plus, though, if you do!).
You don’t even have to be a native speaker – hundreds of teachers come there from all over the world, no matter if their home country is English-speaking or not.
Many of those, who got this experience, state, that coming to China was the best financial decision they could have made, because working here is both culturally enriching and extremely profitable, plus the teaching English requirements are low.
If you still aren’t sure, here is a list of 14 good reasons why you should definitely choose China as your destination.
Great way to save money
Isn’t it the first thing you think about? Don’t worry, the pay is adequate and will get you comfortable living and let you save for a rainy day.
Depending on your experience and the level of your language and professional skills, you can count on a salary from $1,500 to $3,000 plus extras like free accommodation and a contract completion bonus.
The sum may not seem impressive at first, but your level of life will be far above which makes it one of the best paid international teaching jobs.
Bear in mind, that your school will pay bills, so, technically, the only thing you’ll have to pay for is food. Not bad!
The flight ticket and travel expenses will be also covered by the school.
Another good news: national holidays will give you a few paid weeks off.
Low cost of living
Actually, our clients say, you should try really hard to spend all your monthly salary and not put something by.
Living here is a lot cheaper than in Europe or North America, especially if you are ready to eat national dishes instead of Western food.
Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot in local restaurants, because Western cuisine is way more expensive here.
A Chinese vacancy for English teacher will get you a high standard of life here, since $1000 in Asia can buy more, than anywhere else.
In fact, to imagine how much you could afford in China, you have to triple the sum.
Now you see, that you can easily put by up to 50% or even 80% of your wages, which is a common practice among foreign teachers.
With $1,500 alone you could rent a comfortable apartment in the center of Shanghai or Beijing, eat out every day and still save for traveling or other things, isn’t it amazing?
Some people prejudice against Chinese lifestyle, thinking, that once you get hired, you’ll work non-stop and without decent weekend or vacation. That is so not true!
Firstly, teaching vacancies in private schools normally offer a 25 or 30-hour workweek including prep time with two days off, plus national holidays.
You won’t feel overwhelmed with classes or be buried under a pile of tests – quite the opposite! All our clients said, that they had plenty of leisure time, traveled a lot on weekends and felt comfortable.
Most of them also taught extra lessons.
Teaching schedules are modified and discussed with the employee because the need for balance between personal life and work is very well understood in Asia.
Useful for CV
Especially if you are planning to continue in this field, having professional experience in China will help a lot:
- work experience abroad
- work with international students, where you create an English-speaking environment in the class
- learn how to deal with specific difficulties, Asian students have in English
- get new skills and practice different approaches
- possibly learn Chinese
Everyone knows, that international experience is priceless: all well-paid teaching jobs are usually offered to those, who have it, because working abroad mobilizes your knowledge, lets you learn fast and cope with unexpected situations better.
All this is vital for an ESL specialist, so China is a place where you can both earn good money and get valued experience to make the CV more attractive.
If this experience is to be the very first one, then it’s your chance to learn a new profession, get certified to teach English to foreigners and get a decent job straight away!
Assistance for foreigners
Foreign specialists in China are never left alone, especially if they are lost, have problems or need assistance.
If a newcomer doesn’t speak Mandarin, he will survive just fine, because colleagues from school and administrators are always ready to help, translate and share a useful tip on where to escape on the weekend or which store is best.
Remember, that all English teaching jobs in China for non-native speakers and natives include the help of a local teacher during the class and outside (meeting at the airport, renting an apartment, etc.)
Large choice of schools
You are free to choose the place you like.
Depending on what kind of town and school you prefer, you can either get a position at a Beijing public school, a language school in a smaller city or a private school in a very authentic small Chinese town.
You can apply for a part-time job or a full-time position.
You can choose the type of students you prefer – young children, teens or adults.
Instead of wondering ‘Where can I find teaching jobs?’, we advise you to ask yourself “Where do I want to teach?”, because that’s the right question for you now.
There are plenty of schools out there, looking for an ESL teacher, so it’s up to you to decide which one to pick.
Enthusiastic and respectful students
English is very popular in Asia: people want to learn it and they are fond of foreign teachers.
Be prepared to feel a superstar both in the street and in your classroom, because Chinese students love looking at and speaking to someone from abroad – especially children.
Unlike American or European students, Asian ones are more enthusiastic, a lot more motivated and respectful: be prepared to be treated like royalty, given small gifts and snacks as a sign of respect!
China is surely one of the very best places to work as a teacher because children here are unspoiled, hardworking and appreciate every little bit of creativity you bring into the class.
The country is as big as the US with around 56 ethnic groups and lots of regional languages, habits and favorite sports.
There is no such thing as official religion here because everyone has different practices (some have none).
You see, China is extremely diverse and full of wonders – you just need to step outside familiar districts, leaving your prejudices and stereotypes behind.
If you get to visit different regions, you’ll see how diverse and unique their lifestyles, clothing, traditions, and food are.
Even houses are very different – compare high-perched Diaojiaolou houses, boat-shaped village huts, and Siheyuan residences – how beautiful and unlike each other are they!
Authentic Chinese food
Let’s face it, Europeans and Americans can’t cook traditional Chinese meals the way they are supposed to be made!
Good news is that once you get to work here, you’ll be able to enjoy all the riches of the local cuisine, moreover, that won’t cost you a fortune.
The bad news is that you’ll probably suffer for the rest of your life, eating foreign versions of it outside Asia – or will come running back very soon!
China is one of those international opportunities for teachers, that will not only develop your professional skills but also your taste for delicious spring rolls and wontons.
Chances are, you will learn how to make those yourself too!
Opportunity to learn Mandarin
As a teacher, you should know, that learning a language in the country where it’s spoken is way easier and more efficient, than back home.
That is why signing a contract there might be a chance to learn it while you are among native speakers.
Our clients keep being astonished at how fast a foreigner gets to start speaking – first, using basic words and sentences at a shop, gradually learning to hold an everyday conversation with colleagues and friends.
Although, studying the language is not a must since this knowledge won’t affect the salary of English teaching jobs in China, but if you happen to be interested, you’ll progress in no time!
Side note: written Mandarin is a whole different thing, which normally takes more time and effort.
Advance your career
China’s economy is constantly growing, which means, that there are vacancies and good specialists are needed – especially those with good knowledge of English and preferably speaking Chinese.
If you plan to stay in the country for more than a couple of years, then you might like to know that teaching opportunities in Asia do not end with one-year contracts for foreigners.
Ambitious teachers are welcome to stay at the school and help it grow, becoming a senior teacher, being able to influence the way English is taught, improving teaching materials etc.
In fact, coming to China might be the right career move for you, because here you can advance faster if you are a hardworking and creative kind of person.
Travel around China and abroad
Those, who are eager to discover the ancient culture of the country, see new places, visit the Great Wall of China, learn things and meet people, will easily satisfy their cultural hunger.
China is one of the best places to teach internationally not only because of the pay and cost of living but because of its diverse culture and beautiful traditions.
Its natural heritage is amazing too: imagine the vast Gobi desert, endless Inner Mongolia grasslands, and the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge!
Other parts of Asia are also easily accessible from big Chinese cities: Seoul is only 1 hour away from Beijing, a flight to Tokyo will take 3 hours, and 5 hours to Singapore…
Are you ready for the adventure?
Making friends in China is easy: people are very open, kindhearted and loyal.
Most of them might seem indifferent or cold at first, but once you’ve talked to them, you’ll discover their true nature.
They are also very genuine and nice: your new friends will probably invite you to their homes, take you out for dinner, tell you lots of interesting things about the city and help you learn some Chinese as well if you wish.
To make it short, locals are usually willing to spend time with a newcomer and to make new friends; moreover, you are likely to keep in touch even after you leave, because the Chinese are very serious about friendship.
Volunteer with pandas
In fact, if you are curious enough, you can make your stay in China even more filled with activities and joy by doing some volunteering jobs.
How many TEFL jobs around the world could let you combine work with so much fun? Admit it, it’s a unique chance!
Certainly, panda programs are not the only ones on the offer – you can choose among hundreds of them – but these are one of the most amazing.
You don’t have to enroll in a long-term project if you don’t have enough free time; there are one-day or weekend programs too.
Volunteering is a great way to see everyday China, meet more local people and other foreigners, discover life outside your classroom and learn to deal with difficulties all by yourself.