Leaving behind the home comforts of the West can seem a little daunting but venturing into the unknown is the best part of moving to the East.
We’ve compiled a short list of everything you need to know about teaching English in China to help turn those unknowns into known unknowns!
While it is recommended to brush up on a bit of ‘survival Chinese’ so you can get around, order food and impress the locals, knowledge of the language is not a pre-requisite for teaching English in China. In fact, it is quite the contrary; a good TEFL teacher will refrain from using the native tongue of their students in the classroom. At EF we believe immersion is the best way to pick up a language, so our language centres are English speaking zones. This encourages our students to think and talk like an English speaker. While it is best not to speak Chinese in the classroom, it will of course help to know some basics so you can talk to the locals in your centre and in daily life. EF provides Chinese language classes for all teachers pre and post arrival to make your stay in China as easy as possible.
The cost of living in China is cheap compared to the West but varies from city to city. Wherever you go the general rule of thumb is that with the right attitude you should be able to save a chunk of your salary and live a good quality of life. The salary EF provides is a flat salary across all of our main locations. As such the salary you’ll receive in Shanghai is the same as what you will earn in Chongqing. To put that into context a shared apartment in Shanghai might set you back roughly 4,000 RMB a month whereas you can get your own place in Chongqing for roughly 2,000 RMB a month, leaving you lots of disposable income. Food is very cheap in China, but you might be tempted to frequent more expensive Western restaurants in cities like Beijing and Shenzhen, instead of choosing a quality meal for as little as five dollars in a local restaurant. Keep the varying costs of living in mind when deciding which city you would like to live and work in. You may be happy to live in an international city like Beijing with world-famous attractions, but with less disposable income. On the other hand, you may prefer to throw yourself into the deep end and have a more ‘authentic’ Chinese experience in a smaller city where the cost of living is far lower
Perhaps the best aspect of China is all the wonderful and interesting people you will meet. If you were to teach with EF, in one of our language centres, you will work alongside several other foreign staff and friendly local employees. When you arrive in China you should be in a large intake group of teachers where there is a shared sense of camaraderie and bemusement in being so far away from home. There is nothing quite like that shared sense of ‘Wow! We are in China, how amazing is this!’ In short, China is a very sociable place with foreigners looking out for each other and the locals looking to share their culture with you.
Whether you are fresh out of university or a career changer, teaching in China will help you develop transferrable professional skills that will help you in the long run throughout your work life. From teaching English, you will develop skills such as public speaking, leadership, patience, creativity, empathy and an ability to motivate. At EF there are internal opportunities to progress into senior roles and different departments all over the world as we have a presence in 116 countries. Not only will EF give you unmatched support in settling into China, but we can also help you work towards lifelong goals.
In conclusion, teaching English in China ticks all the proverbial boxes. You can see the world, meet new people and immerse yourself into a new and exciting culture. On top of that you can earn a salary and develop professional skills, which should last as long as the unforgettable memories you will make.
If you have a thirst for adventure and high hopes for your career, then please feel free to contact someone on our team to learn more about the exciting opportunities to live and work in China with EF.