Good Salary: Salaries in China can range from average to very good depending on your years of experience and negotiating power. Even in smaller cities a salary of 10,000-15,000 RMB is not unachievable in your first year. This is equal to 1500-2200 USD or 1100-1700 GBP. In cities like Beijing first year salaries can climb to 20,000 RMB or more for teachers. If you compare this to most first year salaries in the USA or UK you can begin to see one of the top reasons to work in China.
Lower Living Cost, Higher Standard of Life: The conversion is very favourable at 6.2 RMB to the Dollar or 11 RMB to the Pound. In context this means renting an apartment in downtown area of a city is very affordable compared to western cities. Average rent can vary from 2500-6000 RMB across tier 1 to 3 cities in China. This apartment will tend to be large and furnished. Eating out and transport are all similarly scaled down in price so don’t be surprised when you are eating out most nights and catching taxis about town.
Save money: This is often one of the top reasons to work in China for lots of expats. Most expats will find they have money left over at the end of the month. Depending on your lifestyle this can range from a few hundred to thousands of RMB. Without impacting your lifestyle its easy to start setting this aside or sending it home.
Career Progression: Regardless of the role the career progression for expats can be pretty good. Depending on the business it can be from within or by moving company. These roles changes typically come with pay increases too so you might see your salary grow quickly after your first year or two.
Professional Developments: Its not just your progression up the career ladder that can be quick. You can also get exposed to a wide range of tasks within your role. This exposure may take much longer in a comparable role in the west. A teacher might be asked to train new teachers or a marketer might get total control of on and offline marketing. Taking advantage of this opportunity to progress your career is one of the top reasons to work in China.
Range of Employment Options: Its not just teaching that expats can do out here. After some time in the country you will find a range of options opening up for you. Want to train new teachers, become a regional or national trainer. Want to help design the new teaching material then you could become a course designer. Even outside of teacher there are lots of roles you can consider.
Looks Great on Your CV: As hinted to above, more and more businesses are looking for knowledge about China. You could be the one to give it to them! Equally there are lots of Chinese businesses looking for a western perspective. Regardless, time abroad shows you are adventurous and take the initiative which can be strong selling points for any company hiring you in the future.
Learn a New Language: Learning Mandarin is always one of the top reasons to work in in China and with good reason. China is growing quickly. With many expat roles in China requiring Mandarin to a conversational level its a good idea to study up if you plan to make your career here. Also back home you might find your language opening up some unexpected doors.
Cultural Immersion: What is the best way to learn about a culture. To live in it of course! China has many nuances that can only be examined in person. Once you have experienced the juxtaposition that is China for yourself you might find that knowledge being critical to your future career.
Western Options Exist: While its great to immerse yourself you will of course crave some home comforts from time to time. The great thing about China is that while you never forget where you are, years of expat business owners and big brands have expanded the range of western options across food, clothes and everything in between. Rest assured you will never be too cut off from home.
Choice of Cities: China has a huge range of options when it comes to locations to work in. There are cities that are very international like Shanghai. Other cities have history stretching back thousands of years like Xi’an. There are also cities you probably have not heard of before like Wuxi. All of them have their own selling points, depending on the person. Picking the right one for you can make your time in China one you will never forget. The flexibility to choose such a range of environments is a top reason to work in China.
Travel China: I think clearly one of the top reasons to work in China is of course the travel options. China is a vast country with many beautiful and historical locations that can and should be explored. Here in China there are 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites. That is the second highest of any country in the world. So whether its a trip for a weekend or a few weeks, China has something for everyone.
Travel Asia: If you are coming from countries like the US or Canada then you might not have travelled as far as South East Asia. Once you are based in China all that can change! China is surrounded by countries almost as interesting as it is. Most cities will have domestic flights to a international airport in a bigger city. Some will even fly direct to some of the more popular locations like Thailand or Korea. With just a few hours flying you could be ticking off another new country from your list. Maybe even more than one.
Safety: Something people often worry about when thinking of living abroad is safety. Well you can rest at ease. In your daily life in China you will see nothing criminal other than some questionable driving or littering. While crime is not nonexistent, violent crime is very rare indeed. The usual advice about watching your belongings in touristy areas of course still apply. However walking home late at night alone isn’t a concern here.
Food: Its impossible to write about China and not talk about the food. Some of it you will love it. Others will hate it. Some of it you will find yourself asking why anyone would eat it. Every province has their specialty, from spicy hotpot in Sichuan to dry noodles covered in Sesame sauce from Wuhan. Try as many dishes as you can, some you will end up loving for the rest of your life.
Friends for Life: Chinese society runs on networks. Family networks, work networks and beyond, its all about who you know. It takes a long time to move into someones friendship network in China. However once are there you will be there for life. These relationships are build on mutual trust and ability to help each other which can sometimes seem mercenary to expats. Stick with it and a deeper relationship will emerge.
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Fly to China
Hold a minimum of Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
TESOL Certificate ⇒ More Info on Getting TEFL Certified
Nationality: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, or USA
No teaching license/experience necessary
No critical Criminal record
No critical medical problems
Public school: Monday to Friday 8:00-17:30, maximum of 18 lessons per week (40-45 minutes each lesson)
Kindergarten: Monday to Friday 8:00-17:30, maximum of 20 lessons per week (40-45 minutes each lesson)
Language Center: 2 days off, classes on the afternoon, evenings and weekends, 20-25 teaching hours per week (40-45 minutes each lesson)
Salary and Benefits
10,000 RMB-18,000RMB basic salary plus provide housing or housing allowance for ESL teaching position.
15,000 RMB-20,000RMB basic salary plus provided housing or housing allowance for subject teaching position
5000~8000 RMB once-a-year flight allowance will be reimbursed in a month upon arrival
Work visa(Z visa) application assistance
End of contract performance bonus
Commercial insurance/Social and accident insurance
Pre-arrival webinar training and orientation
Airport pickup, bank, phone card, and apartment rental assistance
3~4 nights’ free hotel on arrival
Ongoing teacher mentoring and assessment