If the 20th Century was an American Century, then the 21st looks set to belong to China. But rather than making everyone else learn Chinese, they’ve decided to learn English! Which is great news for TEFL teachers…
Training & Experience
A respectable TEFL qualification can go a long way! China is one of the biggest TEFL hotspots with a huge demand for English teachers… but experience and training counts for a lot. If you want to get one of the best paid jobs, you’ll need top TEFL training and/or teaching experience. Remember, i-to-i TEFL offers you internationally recognised TEFL courses as well as internships in China to give you solid teaching experience!
China can be a tricky one! To legally work in China,
you require a university degree for work visa purposes. However, many programmes exist to enable non-degree holders to live and work in China. The Teach in China Internship is a great example as it’s open to people educated to the age of 18. You can learn more about the Teach in China Internship here.
Teaching Types & Opportunities
TEFL jobs in China can be found in a number of different settings, from state schools and kindergartens to one-to-one tuition and private language schools. The rise in demand for business
English classes in particular is due to more employers taking advantage of the huge growth that the Chinese economy has seen in recent years. If you hope to work in universities, you’ll probably need a degree and a recognised TEFL course.
Currency: In China, the official currency is the ‘renminbi’ (RMB) and you will often hear the ‘yuan’ referenced as well. Yuan refers to the actual currency units, such as dollars, pounds or euros.
Salary & Perks: Like any job in any country, salaries
will always vary, but here’s a basic guideline for you. Private schools will generally pay higher (10,000 RMB)
than government schools (about 8,500 RMB); additionally, salaries will always be higher in the bigger cities and for the more experienced teachers. Sometimes your employers will also offer you accommodation, flight reimbursements and bonuses!
Cost of Living: The cost of living and your lifestyle choices go hand in hand! If you’re not looking for a 29th story penthouse in the centre of Beijing, you should be fine! China can be a really cheap TEFL destination for the westerner, especially if you choose to live like a local, using local transport and going to incredible local restaurants. A bottle of water can cost less than 5RMB… roughly 15 US cents!
Beijing – An obvious choice really. The capital city is home to around 22 million people with more people streaming in every day. It is one of the key centres for international business and the demand for TEFL teachers is high. It is a relatively easy place for Westerners to live in with a big ex- pat community to help you settle in.
Shanghai – The city boasts the world’s largest cargo port and is considered to be the most important commercial center in mainland China. These factors, and also its status as a tourist destination, have fuelled a huge demand for English teachers – especially those with experience of, or certification in, teaching business English.
Kunming – The capital of Yunnan, Kunming is home to the headquarters of many of Yunnan’s biggest businesses, which creates a huge demand for English teachers. It is also regarded by many as one of the more pleasant Chinese cities to live in due to its location high in the mountains.
Destination Types & Weather
China is a massive country with a very diverse landscape, so the climate will change as you travel across the Yangtze River as well as during the year. With cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers, you’re in for the best of both worlds!
Dishes vary between regions, but typically there is a great variety from restaurants to street stalls. Chinese food is traditionally based on opposites, which is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy. It is not unusual to find hot and cold food paired together along with pickled and fresh or spicy and mild food.
Things to try:
Skewered bugs, butterfly cocoons and rats from the night markets. Also, the ‘thousand-year-old eggs’ are not for the faint-hearted! Coated in red earth, garden lime, salt, wood ash and tea, these eggs and stored in airtight containers for 100 days!
TEFL Here If…
You want to sample a new culture whilst having the relative safety of Western escape routes if things get intense. You’ve got to be motivated to get out there and TEFL to a high standard and make new friends in a bustling environment.