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If China has been on your bucket list for ages, but you feel financially insecure to set off for the adventure of a lifetime, maybe you should start thinking of working here. Nowadays, there is great demand for native English speakers, particularly in the larger cities, so you could easily find a teaching job in the Land of Dragons. In this way, you could afford your travels to various provinces in China, live a decent life and still be able to save up to $18.000 a year when travelling across Asia and China itself.
With the availability of various search engines nowadays, finding a job in China might be much easier that you can imagine. What is harder though, is the time it takes to sift through the many thousands of search results for “teach English in China,” to find the job which suits your needs. Therefore, in today’s post I would like to share some of my tips that will help you narrow down your job searches.
#1 Start the job hunt before coming to China.
You should start looking for a job once you decide to move to China – the sooner, the better. The reason being, you will avoid the stress of having to find a job after arriving, you will not have to spend money on accommodation while looking for a job in China and you can plan your budget in advance. Planning is crucial as you can save a lot of money. Your prospective employer might purchase your inbound flight ticket in advance and you can apply for your working visa in your home country before arrival in China for what your employer would be in advance. Don’t do anything at last minute because everything takes time and the less time you have, the less things you can manage to sort out before leaving and the more stressful situations you may face after your arrival.
#2. Choose a public institution.
English teachers in China are employed in a wide variety of institutions: public schools and private learning centres. The best option for you would be to get a job at any public institution – kindergarten (3-6/7 years old students), primary schools (8-12 years), middle schools (13-16 years), high schools (16-18 years) or universities (18+ years). The reason being, public schools are definitely less strict with the teaching plan than private schools as they know how hard it is to teach so many students at once. The staff are very understanding and caring so most of the time you can get some help from the Chinese English teacher. You will be also entitled to be off work during various national holidays, examinations and obviously weekends so you can travel around China. Moreover, public schools are definitely more reliable when it comes to applying for your working (Z) visa, you can get free food from school canteens and your salary is always paid on time.
From ghost cities to ancient capitals, quiet villages and skyscraper filled wonderlands, China has it all. If you are looking for somewhere to live which is more Westernised, then you can. If you want to live more off the beaten track, you can, but I would recommend a nice and peaceful town hidden somewhere far away from polluted and busy Beijing or Shanghai.
There are many smaller towns and cities in all of the provinces where you can look for a job, for example in Hunan province where you could experience authentic Chinese cuisine, learn to speak Chinese and definitely save more money for your future travels. Moreover, you will feel like a pop star in smaller places as Chinese are not used to seeing foreigners in their hometowns. Locals will treat your with some nice food, take a good care of you and make sure you are never alone. Asking you to pose for a picture 100 times a day will be kind of normal, trust me, but it’s a lot of fun!
Whether you are a native speaker or a near-native speaker whose big dream is to live a local life in the Land of Dragons, teaching English would be a perfect idea for you. If you are an open-minded person willing to discover Chinese culture, cuisine and traditions in a different way: not as a regular tourist, but as an expat, don’t think twice and start looking for a job right away!
Agness is a Polish budget traveller, baozi lover and adventure hunter, who has been living, travelling and working in China since August 2011. She is currently an English teacher in one of Dongguan’s private kindergartens. Between her work and travels, she is blogging on eTramping – a travel website where you can find plenty of budget travel tips on how to travel the world with $25 in your pocket. If you would like to read more about China, you can check out her “Add the Brick to the Great Wall:” Experience-based Advice for China from Expats” e-book which sums up her two-year experience of teaching, living and travelling in the Land of Dragons.