This is a comprehensive guide to a great journey teaching in China. In recent years, China has opened its doors wider for international educators, creating a flourishing environment for aspiring teachers from around the globe. With a blend of ancient traditions and modern cities, China offers a unique teaching and living experience. If you’re contemplating embarking on a teaching journey in China, this guide aims to answer some pressing questions you might have.
Can Foreigners Still Teach in China?
Yes, foreigners are still welcomed to teach in China, provided they meet the necessary qualifications and visa requirements. The demand for international teachers continues to grow as China emphasizes global education. Explore the visa guidelines to ensure you’re eligible.
Earning Potential: How Much Do You Earn Teaching in China?
The salary range for teachers in China varies based on factors like the city, school, and your qualifications. On average, teachers earn between $2,500 to $4,000 per month. Some institutions also provide housing allowances, flight reimbursements, and other perks, making teaching in China an attractive option financially. Dive into salary insights to get a clearer picture.
Demand for Teachers: Are Teachers Needed in China?
Absolutely! The growing emphasis on bilingual education has spurred a significant demand for English teachers, as well as educators in other subjects. The China Youth International platform has numerous listings for teaching positions across various cities in China.
Is There an Age Limit for Teaching in China?
The age limit for foreign teachers in China typically ranges between 18 to 60 years old. However, some institutions might have different age requirements. More information can be found on Chinese governmental portals.
Qualifications: Do I Need a PGCE to Teach in China?
While having a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is beneficial, it’s not mandatory. A Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification are often sufficient. Explore TEFL certification courses to get started.
Ease of Employment: Is It Hard to Get a Teaching Job in China?
The ease of securing a teaching job in China largely depends on your qualifications and the demand for teachers in your subject area. With the right credentials, many find it relatively straightforward to secure a position. Browse through job listings to gauge the current market.
In conclusion, teaching in China presents a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a rich cultural tapestry while contributing to the global educational landscape. Explore the available teaching positions through China Youth International and take the first step towards an enriching teaching experience in China.
In the last decade or so, the ESL teaching industry has been changing with technology like nobody’s business. You no longer have to travel across borders to teach foreign students. Better yet, you don’t even have to struggle to find a classroom or workspace to meet in person. Instead, you can teach ESL online from home! And you don’t even have to get out of your PJs! Strike that. On second thought, you should throw on something a bit more professional because you still want to look the part. After all, teaching English online is a paid job and it’s one you should take seriously..
Teaching English online is a great alternative to teaching abroad. The flexibility, comfort, and freedom give teachers from across the globe a chance to interact with international students while working from home.
Whether you are looking to earn extra money, set your own work schedule, or make a difference in the lives of others, you’ll be able to find it in CYI in cooperation with Jensen360 to teach English from home opportunities. Teaching English as a second language is now easier than ever. All you need to do is apply, and we’ll help with the rest.
4 Reasons toTeach Online
Flexible Working Hours
Make A Difference In Students’ Lives
Work From Home Convenience
Teach the same student every week,and build great rapport
Get Paid Online
Teach Kids or Adults, You Choose!
Whether you have an interest in teaching kids online or adults online, good news; CYI offers both positions when you decide to teach from home with us. We offer a range of lessons for two age groups of students, varying from conversational group classes to private and tailored one-to-one lessons. We have award-winning course material to help give you a basis in your lessons, as well as 24/7 technical support should you run into any issues.
Who Are We?
Zhejiang China Youth International Cultural Consulting Development Co., Ltd., (CYI) founded in 2001, is subordinate to Zhejiang Provincial Youth League Committee. Holding the “Certificate of Qualification for Employing Foreign Experts” issued by State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the P.R.C, our company, China Youth International (CYI) has established a stable partnership of cooperation with over 500 education institutions. Offering thousands of foreign specialists to domestic enterprises and institutions, and creating oversea study opportunities for more than 20,000 students, our company has formed a patten as Hangzhou centered with wide radiation covering Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Our staff shall develop our cultural and educational brand with the concept of “Serving with honesty, high-quality and efficiency.” We have been leading the hiring and education industry for almost two decades now and we pride ourselves in the service quality we offer.
Join us if this sounds like you
Talented in connecting with and inspiring kids
Motivated by sharing knowledge, learning about new cultures, and impacting others
Excellent cultural awareness and communication & motivational skills
Comfortable using computer & headset and have a reliable WiFi connection
Having availability during lesson times for the China time zone: weekday afternoon/evenings and weekends (CST/GMT time zone)
Working from Home – Tips
Have you had any experience teaching online? What has your experience been like?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a huge impact in a very short space of time on the online English language teaching (ELT) industry in China. With hundreds of thousands of students effectively unable to leave their homes, schools, brick-and-mortar language schools and existing online teaching companies rushed to get as many of them learning online as possible. As with everything in China, the change from classroom-based teaching to online learning was incredibly fast, and while many people are now back at work, many schools have still not reopened. Primary and secondary schools started online classes in Shanghai as of March 2. Classes are delivered either via cable TV channels or through platforms like Ding Talk, a popular chat and video conferencing app (think a mix of WhatsApp and Zoom). Indeed, Ding Talk reports that more than 700,000 students in Wuhan alone are taking classes on the platform.
The market was difficult even before the outbreak, with competition from the new online language schools. This put a real strain on brick and mortar schools that were teaching offline. It was only in October of 2019 when Webi (Web International English), a large chain, went out of business leaving staff unpaid and students without reimbursement.
With the coronavirus, many language schools across China faced a huge problem. In an already challenging market, they were unable to operate. Faced with no income and potentially still liable for their ongoing costs such as rental and staff salaries, they have experienced heavy losses in what is traditionally a strong sales period after the Chinese New Year.
Moreover larger online providers like TAL have been looking to capitalise on the situation by partnering with over 300 public schools across China and others offering free or discounted classes.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE OUTBREAK IS FINALLY OVER?
While primary and secondary schools may return to school as normal, the situation could be very different for smaller language schools. Students may return and some may survive with a big hit to their annual income.
But while students may return in the short term to take classes they had already paid for, now that they have experienced online classes, which they may not have done before, will they continue to enrol in courses, or will they switch to online providers?
In the online training webinars I have run there is a clear fear among language schools that they have to adapt quickly to online teaching, not just during the coronavirus, but for the foreseeable future.
THE ATTRACTION OF ONLINE ENGLISH CLASSES
Online English classes are not a new phenomenon in China. EF, Education First, a big player in the Chinese market, has been running online classes as part of a blended/hybrid model (where students do some classes face to face and additional classes online) since the early 2000s.
The proposition is simple. As a student or parent, a decade ago, you had to enrol at your local language school, hope they provide a good teacher and spend a significant proportion of your income. Now you can enrol your child at an online school, pick and choose the teacher and not have to sit and wait in the lounge for the class to finish after work or on the weekend. If you are not happy with the school, you can simply switch to another provider.
CAN BRICK-AND-MORTAR LANGUAGE SCHOOLS SURVIVE?
Given this potentially accelerated competition from online, many schools are asking more than ever ‘what they can do to compete with purely online schools?’ A common strategy seems to be to try to move to a blended/hybrid model, the strategy that Education First has been using for several years.
There are challenges in doing this. Not only do brick-and-mortar schools need to differentiate from online schools somehow, the transition to online teaching, as many have experienced, is not easy.
While in the short term platforms like Ding Talk work as they can be deployed very quickly and cheaply, they are not really designed as online classrooms and don’t have the key features required for teaching (interactive class materials, student reward systems, drawing tools etc.) Nor do they have student and teacher management systems to handle scheduling, class feedback or customer service.
While parents will no doubt understand the expediency of teaching online via a platform like Ding Talk, it’s not a sustainable model long term (unless Ding Talk adjusts the platform quickly for its new user case!)
RECRUITMENT OF FOREIGN TEACHERS
There is an industry tied to the ELT industry that recruits foreign teachers into China. There is a lot of concern that the supply of qualified foreign teachers will become even tighter. In the short term at least, rightly or wrongly, China may no longer be seen an attractive destination for teachers due to the coronavirus. Given the Chinese government’s recent tightening of regulations on teachers’ qualifications and backgrounds, some smaller schools are going to need to reassess the feasibility of the foreign teacher in the offline classroom.
With no reduction in desire from parents and students for qualified foreign teachers however, new models for language schools will be needed if foreign teacher supply does indeed fall. One option that will need to be explored is an expanded role for high-quality local teachers teaching in the offline classroom coupled with an independent contractor foreign teacher teaching online. This could be either joining the classroom live via a teaching platform or as additional classes when students are at home.
AND THE REST OF THE WORLD?
The impact of the coronavirus will not just be felt in the Chinese ELT market, but many other countries that rely on China as a source of a lot of their students. With the travel restrictions due to the fear of a global spread Chinese students are not travelling to language schools and camps abroad. In the UK bookings have already fallen dramatically, and with other major sources of students, such as Italy and Japan, also reducing bookings the future is looking rather bleak for some businesses. They too will need to find ways to adapt to the changing future of ELT.
We have been saying it for years but the coronavirus may have just proved it. The future of language teaching not just in China, but globally, is online.
From exploring quirky museums and contemporary art, eating sour dumplings and drinking craft cocktails, and visiting the Buddha temple and sailing on a riverboat tour, here are the very best things to see and do while visiting Shanghai, China.
The Bund is Shanghai’s waterfront boulevard, lined in the heritage buildings that showcase the city’s pre-1949 past and across the river from the Pudong skyscrapers of its future. Along the Bund, Shanghai’s street life is in full force. It’s bustling even at dawn, with locals ballroom dancing, exercising, and practicing tai chi and qi gong. Day and night, Chinese tourists, foreigners, and Shanghai locals walk the Bund, snapping photos of each other backed by the skyscrapers. At night, the towers are lit with flashing neon lights reflected in the Huangpu River.
While the area around Yu Garden is commercialized and the garden itself not as impressive as the classical gardens of Suzhou, it’s one of the few old sights left in Shanghai, and a valuable piece of the city’s rapidly disappearing past. Commissioned in 1559 by Ming Dynasty official Pan Yunduan, the garden was built over nearly two decades by the renowned architect Zhang Nanyang. In the mid-1800s, it was here that the Society of Small Swords planned their uprising against the French colonists, who then destroyed the garden during the first Opium War. After you walk around carp-filled ponds and through the rock gardens and bamboo groves, visit the small museum dedicated to the Society of Small Swords rebellion.
In 1849, Shanghai ceded an area for French settlement to the French Consul. The French consulate built Western-style homes and imported London plane trees to shade the streets. Foreigners shopped, drank, and dined, and some got up to no good, visiting opium dens and brothels. As the concession expanded, British and American expats moved in, eventually followed by White Russians. Today, despite massive redevelopment throughout the city, the French Concession looks much as it did a century ago. Its streets today are comparably quiet and leafy, lined in cafés, boutiques, and restaurants.
The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” surely applies to Shanghai Museum, whose exterior—designed to look like an ancient bronze cooking vessel called a ding—is not pleasing to the eye. Within the museum are more than 120,000 pieces spread across 11 galleries. You’ll find paintings, bronzes, ceramics, sculptures, jade, calligraphy, Ming and Qing dynasty furniture, coins, and jewelry. The dress and costume gallery showcases intricate handiwork from some of China’s 55 ethnic minority groups. English signage is quite good, and audio guides are available.
The geographical center of Shanghai, People’s Square is an enormous public square in which Shanghai denizens hang out all day, every day. Residents stroll, practice tai chi, and fly kites. Grandparents sit, drinking tea from thermoses and gossiping. Come evening, ballroom dancers hold group lessons. The subway station below people’s square is the intersection of metro lines 1, 2, and 8, and is estimated to be the busiest metro station in China, handling some 700,000 people every day. People’s Square is home to Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. For kids, there’s a tiny amusement park with inexpensive rides. Weekends here are extremely busy, particularly on Xizang Road.
Shanghai’s main shopping street, Nanjing Lu (lu means road) runs in two sections—East Nanjing Road, from the Bund to People’s Square, and West Nanjing Road, from People’s Square to Jing’an district. A walk along Nanjing Road in either direction is a walk through the city’s history. East Nanjing Road is the Times Square of Shanghai, pedestrianized and lit by the blaze of neon signs. It has long been Shanghai’s high street, and at the turn of the century had eight posh department stores and a slew of smaller shops. West Nanjing Road ran through the International Settlement and was called Bubbling Well Road. It was quiet and tree-lined, a popular place for expats to stroll and home to a few residences. It was home to Bubbling Well Cemetery, which is now Jing’an Park, and all that remains of its past is a row of imported London planes. Today, West Nanjing Road is a busy upscale street, lined in gleaming malls, shops, offices, and hotels.
Huangpu Riverboat Tour
The Huangpu River divides Shanghai in two. The older west side, Puxi, is the city center. The newer east side, Pudong, starts off with Shanghai’s trio of supertall skyscrapers—Jinmao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, and Shanghai Tower—and then gradually becomes more suburban. Huangpu River tours offer a gentle immersion into Shanghai and are particularly pleasant at night when buildings on both sides are lit up. Your best bet is the 40-minute cruise departing from the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong. You can sit inside or out, and it’s just long enough to take in the scenery and enjoy the breeze.
Puxi, Shanghai’s west side, has the city’s historic buildings, and Pudong, its east, has the skyscrapers. These are concentrated in the Lujiazui neighborhood, just across from the Bund. The 88-floor Jin Mao Tower (8 is an auspicious number), is a postmodern spin on a classic 13-tier Buddhist pagoda design. Zoom to the tower’s top-floor observation deck and take in the 360-degree views, or skip the line and settle into a window seat at Grand Hyatt’s 87th-floor Cloud 9 bar. Just across the street is Shanghai World Financial Center, aka “The Bottle Opener.” It has three observation decks, the highest of which is on the 100th floor. The view from the top is thrilling—on a clear day, you’ll feel as if you’re floating above the city, and when it’s overcast, it’s as if you’re adrift in the clouds. As with Jin Mao Tower, you can skip the crowds of the observation deck by going for tea or a drink at Park Hyatt’s 87th-floor Living Room. The crown jewel of the trio is Shanghai Tower—China’s tallest building and the world’s second tallest—gently curving 2,000 feet into the sky. Its observation deck is on the 119th floor, and your vista is a sweeping panorama of the city, looking down on Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao Tower. The Oriental Pearl Tower appears like a toy; the cars, people, and trees on the road 1,800 feet below tiny as a scale model.
Time was Beijing had China’s best contemporary art, in 798 Art District, but today Shanghai is bursting with galleries and contemporary art museums exhibiting world-class shows. The Power Station of Art, in a former power plant on the one-time World Expo site has no permanent collection, instead hosting large-scale exhibitions, such as works from top Chinese artist Cai Guoqiang or a Warhol retrospective. A block in from the Bund, in a beautifully restored 1932 Art Deco building is Rockbund Art Museum, where galleries installed with temporary exhibitions from artists like Zhang Huan and Felix-Gonzalez Torres lead up to a roof deck. Down on the South Bund are Yuz Museum and Long Museum. Yuz, in a former airplane hanger, has hosted a retrospective on Charlie Chaplin and Instagram-fave installation Rain Room by Random International. Long has highlighted top artists in Southwestern Chinese modern art and French-American artist Louise Bourgeois.
Sip Craft Cocktails
Shanghai has gone through a cocktail renaissance, with dozens of bars now slinging good quality and inventive craft cocktails. For an easy Shanghai bar crawl, work your way around the French Concession or Jing’an, or head down to the Bund for drinks with a skyline view. So where to drink? There are the speakeasies, like intimate, quiet Speak Low where the bartenders deliver drinks like the Sawadee-Cup, Thai-style bubble tea with brown butter-washed rum. Union Trading Company is a neighborhood bar that deals in classic cocktails but also a rotating list of the zingy and new, like Banana Alexander (cream, rum, banana liqueur). In winter, cozy, dim Senator Saloon is where you’ll find expats whiskey cocktails. At the first hint of warm weather, pony up for the Bulgari’s eponymous cocktail at their 48th-floor rooftop bar. It’s a sweet-summery mix of Aperol, gin, lime, and pineapple and orange juices.
Slurp up Soup Dumplings
Ask five locals where to get the best soup dumplings in Shanghai (that’s xiaolongbao) and you’ll get five different answers. Everyone has a favorite neighborhood joint, but there are a few clear winners of the best xiaolongbao in Shanghai award. The line outside Jia Jia Tang Bao, just north of People’s Square, is a clear indication it’s worth the wait. Grab a plastic stool and slurp up plain pork soup dumplings, pork and crab, or crab roe, the priciest. Fuchun, the original or one of its many branches, is slightly more upmarket, a restaurant where families go for more than xiaolongbao, but you’re here for just that. If you want half a dozen varieties of xiaolongbao in a lovely setting—there are truffles, the service is great—go to Din Tai Fung.
Eat Your Heart out
Mexican, Mediterranean, Mongolian, and every variety of Chinese cuisine, from spicy Hunan and Sichuan to more mellow, dim-sum slinging Cantonese: Shanghai has nearly everything you could possibly crave, at price points budget to blow out. You’re in Shanghai, so start with its food, like bowls of cong you ban mian (scallion oil noodles), before diving into greater China—hearty dumplings from northeastern China (Dongbei cuisine) at Four Seasons Dumpling King; warming, spicy hot pot from Chengdu; pan-fried cheese from Yunnan province. From here, your options are limitless: gussy up and go down to the Bund for Michelin-starred Italian food backed by a glittering skyline; head west to Hongqiao for Korean barbecue. We won’t blame you if you leave Shanghai a few pounds heavier.
I know it’s hard to believe – a teaching job with a decent salary and
enough time to travel and explore? I thought so too when my friend told
me about his experiences while teaching English abroad. But then I did
some more research and decided it really was worth a try. Among other
possibilities, I chose to teach English in China.
China? Well, with a huge population, a growing demand for learning
English, and a rich culture, China offers both the job opportunities and
the excitement any teacher would wish for.
As a South
African you are from the start in a very good position to become a
teacher in China. Being able to speak English as a native language is a
valuable asset nowadays and more and more South Africans are using that
advantage to find satisfying teaching jobs in China. There is a large
South African expat community there and you may even contact some of the
members if you have any questions about their life abroad.
Even though as a South African you enjoy a wide range of choice regarding the countries you can teach in, let me give you a few reasons why teaching in China was a dream come true for me and why it may also be the same for you.
1. English Teachers are in High Demand
China is booming, and with its rapidly growing middle class, many
people are looking to improve their lives and the lives of their
children. Speaking English can open many doors for them. That’s where
you come in.
There are so many places where you can
teach: kindergartens, high schools, international schools, language
schools… Even Chinese companies are hiring teachers to help their
There are certain requirements you must meet to be able to teach in China, and you will, of course, need to obtain an employment visa (Z-visa), but this is a relatively straightforward process. Make some effort and, depending on your contract and the city you choose, you can enjoy benefits such as free housing, free flights or a housing allowance.
2. Travel Opportunities are Fantastic
Yes, after a while you will have time to travel around the
country and experience it like no tourist can. China has so much to
Yes, after a while you will have time to travel around the country and experience it like no tourist can. China has so much to offer!
There are the well-known big cities, of course. But this country is so much more. Its Yunnan and Shaanxi provinces are the home of the most exciting hikes and remains of ancient cities. Guilin and Yangshuo offer backpackers the chance to explore hot springs, mud caves, and the famous rice fields, all while staying in nearby villages. Whatever province you choose, you are guaranteed something spectacular!
3. You Can Learn a New Language
They say that Chinese is extremely difficult to learn. However, once
you move there, you’ll realise that it’s not quite the case. If you’re
willing to put in some work, immerse yourself in the language every day
and communicate with the locals, you can pick up a lot in a short time.
Start with the basics, practise regularly with your friends or students, and you will move on to more complex things soon.
And anyway – wouldn’t this new ability look impressive in your CV?
4. The Food is Amazing
Every province in China has its distinct style of cooking, so the
variety of dishes is unbelievable. There is something for everyone. For
example, noodles and dumplings are typical for Northern China, sweet and
light food for Eastern China, while in the central part they mostly
like really spicy dishes.
You will also learn a lot about customs and etiquette in Chinese dining, which may be quite different than what you’re used to. All in all, even the food in China is an adventure!
5. The Students Are Fun
For the most part, the students in China are enthusiastic, fun-loving and respectful of their teachers.
it is a bit of a myth that they are really well-behaved in class. A lot
of them see their ‘’foreign teacher class’’ as an opportunity to take a
break from the pressure of their other classes. But this isn’t a bad
thing. It just means that you can do your job in a more relaxed manner,
with more fun games!
Teaching English in China is a lot of work, especially in the beginning, but it is also hugely rewarding. Besides being excellent for your career, it also comes with some benefits that teachers in many other countries don’t have. With some effort put in, you may have an unforgettable life experience!
Teaching abroad and traveling are popular choices among people who have finished university, but aren’t quite ready to enter the working world. Both are valuable experiences that open your eyes to a new culture and way of life, but which is best? When it comes to exploring the Middle Kingdom, teaching English arguably offers more advantages over traveling. Here are some of the main benefits of teaching in China offers over tourism.
Ancient history, age-old traditions, and cultural superstitions combine to make Chinese culture both rich and complex. Visitors get a mere glimpse of this 5,000-year-old civilization, while those teaching in China have the chance to delve deeper and experience more of this fascinating country.
Living and teaching in China, you will discover fascinating cultural differences and language through everyday tasks such as going to the supermarket, commuting and visiting the bank. Living in a typical apartment in a local neighborhood, you truly will experience how the locals live.
Between life in and outside of work, English teachers in China meet a wide range of people. From your students to your colleagues, to the street food seller you pass on your commute, your daily routine opens you up to interacting with people from all walks of life. Forming friendships, discovering the language and working with locals will help you better understand and appreciate the culture than perhaps possible as a tourist.
Though teaching in China is growing in popularity, many remain under the impression it’s simply for those who wish to begin a teaching career, and may instead choose to travel.
Of course, teaching abroad is extremely advantageous for anyone planning to teach in their home country. Though, what many don’t realize is that it is an enriching experience that equips you with skills useful to almost any industry.
International experience is becoming increasingly sought after by employers. Living and teaching abroad not only gives you this but also the ability to adapt to a new culture, way of life and working environment. When competing against hundreds of applicants with equally impressive credentials, such experience certainly helps you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re still not sure about the teaching, consider the variety of skills you can gain from it. Public speaking, adaptability, problem solving, and time management are just a few skills teachers use that are sought by employers across the board. Furthermore, foreign language skills are highly desired in many industries. The exposure to native speakers, immersive environment and appealing schedule teaching in China provides, make it ideal for language learning.
An Exciting Way of Life
The reality of teaching in China is just as exciting as it sounds. Even mundane tasks like popping to the shop, taking the bus, or commuting are interesting in a foreign culture. You might have traveled across the world to work, but work is only part of the adventure. There’s always something to learn in your new environment and whether you’re in the classroom or exploring, it’s equally enthralling.
This excitement of daily life is augmented by the appreciation English teachers in China receive from their colleagues and students. The respect for teachers and interest in foreigners among general Chinese society means you will be welcomed into your new home and workplace and feel valued. Moreover, English teachers in China have the opportunity to make a real impact on students’ lives. English education is extremely important in China and the exposure to your native accent and culture will help them hugely. This truly rewarding experience helps you give to the community in a way that is simply not possible for tourists.
Get The Best of Both Worlds by Teaching in China
Foreign English teachers are in particularly high demand in China, making it a very appealing destination to teach in. Long-term English teachers in China receive generous salaries in exchange for teaching an appealing schedule. Salary and working hours depend of course on location, but English teachers in China can earn around 5000 – 17,000 RMB per month and teach for 15-30 hours per week. In addition, most schools provide free accommodation close to the campus, giving English teachers in China with a comfortable lifestyle.
Long-term English teachers in China benefit from several national holidays throughout the year. This, combined with generous salaries and minimal expenses easily allows teachers in China to get the best of both worlds; earning while travelling. A 7-day holiday in October, 4-6 weeks in January and various long weekends thro
The Flexibility of Teaching in China
The beauty of teaching in China is the flexibility it offers. If you, like many others, realise towards the end of your contract you haven’t had enough, it’s easy to extend. Your school is likely to offer you a renewed contract, sometimes with a pay rise. Should you decide it’s time to move on, you’ll find that schools across the country are looking for teachers. With some TEFL experience under your belt, you’re sure to find a suitable role.
You may even find teaching in China has whetted your appetite for teaching abroad and a new challenge. Several of our previous teachers have returned to China, while others have embarked on an adventure in a different country. Whatever you choose to do after, you’ll find that teaching in China opens so many doors!
throughout the year means that whether you want a shortstop in Japan or a few weeks in Thailand, you’re sure to get the chance!
Living in Hangzhou has been a whirlwind experience for Helen and even though she’s now in a different country she carried with her some great memories of China!
We truly believe there is no better way to learn about a new city, a new country or a new culture than living there. Our Living Abroad series is designed to tell stories of living overseas and show people that the world is really not such a scary place. We hope it inspires more people to pack up their bags, travel slow and see what it’s really like to live in a different place. If you’d like to tell your story, there’s more information at the end of Helen’s story.
Here’s what Helen had to say about Hangzhou.
Where are you originally from and what did you do before?
I am originally from Bristol in the UK. Since graduating I’ve worked in various jobs, mainly customer service, retail, and the theater. However, in 2014 I started traveling and haven’t stopped (much) since. It was September 2015 that my boyfriend and I moved to Hangzhou.
What is it like to live in Hangzhou as an expat/ foreigner?
I think living anywhere is very different to simply traveling somewhere. We live in a very local community so we stand out a lot from everyone and get some very funny looks sometimes. Overall, though, people are very friendly, and it’s been very useful to learn some basic Mandarin to get by.
What did a typical day look like for you?
I worked as a primary school English teacher. I would wake up early at 6.15am every day as classes started at 8 am. An average day for me has 4 classes with some time in between to relax and prepare lessons. Every day is different with teaching which is why I love it. The classes and topics vary. With primary students, I had to make sure I had lots of activities planned to keep all the children engaged!
In the evenings, my boyfriend and I would go out to eat in the local restaurants and do some work for our other jobs online. I’d also keep everyone up to date with my blog and we’d plan some trips for our weeks and National holidays as we loved exploring more of China.
Why did you choose Hangzhou?
We knew that we wanted to travel and teach somewhere in Asia (very broad!). However, it was when we were in Poland last year that we met a guy who lived in Hangzhou for 4 years. He really recommended the city and set us up with some contacts who helped us to get our jobs.
What did you love about living in Hangzhou?
I love the hospitality I received and the support and kindness from the other teachers. I made some wonderful friends and loved trying lots of new food (I wasn’t a fan of all the food!). I mostly loved that it was a totally different culture to anywhere else I’d ever been, and living there means I got a real insight into what life was like.
What are the local people like?
The locals were very friendly, despite our very basic mandarin speaking skills. The language was definitely challenging though when we first arrived and it was difficult to communicate with neighbors and when ordering food. I think they appreciated us trying, though. (CYI can always help with that – providing you free assistance 24/7)
What work did you do there?
I was an English teacher in a primary school.
What is the cost of living in Hangzhou?
Our teaching agency paid for our flat which was approximately 2000 RMB a month (about £200). As for everything else, the cost of living is super low. If you use public transport and eat locally you can easily get by on 2000 RMB a month. Of course, we enjoyed meeting up with others for drinks on the weekend and traveling so we spent more like 4000 RMB a month. This is still very low compared to the cost of living in London.
Do you need a visa? If so how long can you stay in the country for?
You do need a visa. I had a working visa. CYI again can help with all that
How safe is Hangzhou?
I felt so safe in Hangzhou. I would happily walk alone at night and feel very safe. Like anywhere, you need to be wary, but overall I felt safer here than in the UK.
Is there a big expat community?
I wouldn’t say there is a large expat community but there is quite a few. There are certain places you can head to on a weekend and you’ll be sure to find lots of other expats. Meeting expats wasn’t a problem at all.
Are there any other good places to travel to close by?
Most definitely! Shanghai is only about an hour away on the train and there are lots of other small places to visit such as Suzhou and Nanjing. Hangzhou is large though and has a lot to offer.
And, finally any advice or encouragement for someone wanting to take the leap and live overseas?
Do it! It’s a really daunting thing to do but I think it’s definitely worth trying. I found the teaching challenging and it took me a while to adjust to the different lifestyle and culture but it was so worth it. It opened my eyes to Chinese culture and lifestyle and was so rewarding.