If you are wondering whether teaching English in China is for you, the most important question you must ask yourself is whether you are ready to embrace the people, the culture and the language with enthusiasm. If you answered yes to this then teaching English in China can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Thousands of people each year commit to teaching English as a second language in China, but for someone who has never done this before it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips on how to get you started on what is sure to be a life changing experience in this wonderful and culturally diverse country:
Choosing your destination…
China is a vast country, spanning a massive 3.7 million square miles and being home to over 1.339 billion citizens, so you will not be short on areas that are in need of people to teach English.
Where you teach is entirely down to personal preference, many enjoy the hustle and bustle of the large crowded cities of Shanghai or Beijing whereas others prefer to venture into the more rural areas to experience a more authentic China. Do your research before you begin applying for jobs and decide what area is preferable for you, this can make the process a lot quicker and you will be happier when you arrive safe in the knowledge you will know what to expect.
Learning the language…
Whilst you will not need to be fluent in Chinese to be able to teach Chinese people English as a foreign language, it would certainly be beneficially to learn several key phrases in Mandarin before you arrive.
A good tip is to use basic Pinyin to help, Pinyin uses the English alphabet to express the pronunciation of Mandarin and allow English people to learn the language more easily. On meeting your students for the first time, offering them a few simple greetings in Mandarin can really help to break the ice.
Before you sign a contract with a school, it is important to ensure you have secured adequate accommodation in the area. Failing to do so could result in you living in rundown accommodation which may negatively impact on your overall experience of teaching overseas. Use the internet and forums where individuals who have themselves taught and lived in the area will be able to help you make the right decision. Some employers will include the cost of accommodation within your contract; this does not apply to all of course.
Money and Insurance…
The average foreign teacher will not be paid particularly highly, however, the cost of living in China is significantly lower than Western countries so you will find that accommodation and food in particular is exceptionally cheap. If you have saved money for the trip this can help you get on your feet before your first pay check comes in. It will also give you greater flexibility in where you stay and eat before you discover where the bargains are to be had!
While you may not be thinking of it as a holiday, it is particularly important that you take out an adequate travel insurance policy to cover you whilst you are away. A specific backpacker travel insurance policy may be the most suitable as this will cover you for any amount of time away from one month to one year. Do your research and make sure your policy will cover you for the entirety of your trip.
Above all of course enjoy yourself! China is one of the most cultural diverse countries in the world and to be able to experience all it has to offer as the locals do rather than the average tourist is an experience that will provide you with memories that are sure to stay with you long after you’ve left.
For more information about teaching English in China and other places throughout the world, check out this resource How To Teach English Overseas.
This post was sponsored by MoneySupermarket.com.