This week at TEFL Org it’s all about China with Chinese New Year approaching! You may have seen that China topped our list of places to TEFL in 2018; with a huge demand for English teachers and excellent opportunities available with competitive packages right across the country, it’s the biggest market around for TEFL and is still growing. Will the Year of the Dog be the year you sniff out an amazing new job (I’m so sorry, I’ll show myself out)?
What do you need to work in China? How do you get a job? What is it really like to teach there? We’ve put together this list of articles gathered from across our site to answer all your questions about TEFL in China!
Tips and info
What you need to know about document legalisation and adjusting to life in China!
Information about applying for a visa, finding accommodation, managing your money, and more.
Check out our interview with Laura from EF English First, the largest private educational organisation in the world. We asked her a range of questions relating to the application process, what a typical teaching day is like, how EF English First supports their teachers, and more!
With so many options to TEFL in China it can be a bit overwhelming – here’s some information about three popular destinations for teachers.
Holly landed in China in 2014 to start work at a university and language centre in a small town before moving on to work with English First in a city. She told us about being welcomed into the community and becoming close with locals, the amazing food, and the sights she saw.
Where other cultures had treated me well from the start but it hadn’t always developed too much further, in China I was suddenly a part of the community. The local shop keeper gave me fruit and invited me to watch TV with her, the security guard taught me how to cook and I taught him how to use his smart phone, a local restaurant owner practiced Chinese with me and cooked me up personalized meals while I watched his kids. I was treated like one of them and that’s something I haven’t lost to this day, whenever I visit I am welcomed in just the same way by them all. The love took longer to earn but it went deeper and lasted longer.
Cat completed her undergraduate degree in Chinese Studies and, after a few trips to the country, couldn’t wait to go back after she graduated. She was familiar with China’s biggest cities but was offered work in a choice of three cities she had never heard of and accepted a position in Hefei, a tier-2 city with a population of just under 8 million.
Within a few months I had made a group of friends that I still keep in touch with today. With Anhui province being relatively rural, Hefei is unique in its rapid development while rolling hills and farms remain just a short drive away. Within my year’s teaching, I played tennis (badly) in the street with my neighbours, visited friends in their mountainous home villages, and even filled the role of a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding. I wasn’t the only one changing – in this short space of time, Hefei built a new subway, opened several new shopping malls and even established a new theme park.
Harriet and her partner left the UK to work in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, where Harriet took a job at a kindergarten, teaching a class of 25 3-4 year olds. She told us about her work day, classroom activities, and the travelling she’s done!
One of the other obvious perks of the job is the opportunity to travel. We often spend our weekends exploring the local area or visiting other Chinese cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Zhangjiajie. One of the other reasons we opted for Guangzhou was its close proximity to Hong Kong, a city which has now become a firm favourite for us. Guangzhou is also a great hub for travelling outside of China, and we’ve been lucky enough to visit countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had some incredible experiences that I would never have had if I hadn’t enrolled in a TEFL course. I’ve feasted on so much weird and wonderful food, gazed at awesome skylines, chilled on beautiful beaches, belted out tunes at KTV bars and even attended a Chinese wedding. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget and one that I would recommend to anyone!
Tristan writes regular ‘Letters from Zibo’ over on LinkedIn about being an EFL teacher at an Aston Educational Group school in Zibo, China. He told us about adapting to life in China and how to make the most of your time and developing yourself as a teacher and individual in a foreign country!
Learning from my missed opportunity, I arrived here with a list of the things I was interested in, put them in a hierarchy, divided them into chunks of time and then made a plan. I am now pursuing more writing, assisting in creating content for; DailyDOOH a global blog on the digital out of home industry, Beasts of War the leading news website on the Tabletop and Board Game Industry, and hopefully soon ESL Magazine. A book is in the pipeline. I am “attempting” to learn another language. There is no other job I can think of that allows such an opportunity to develop yourself. While these interests are not directly linked to my current position, who you are is as much to do with TEFL teaching as the content itself. I have quickly learned here that the foreign teachers are a significant selling point for the school. It is why they are willing to invest in you, so I suggest you do the same.
After graduating, Sarah took a job at Beijing Foreign Studies University and never looked back! BFSU ran a nation-wide competition in which teachers competed for the award of Most Outstanding Teacher and after several rounds Sarah beat hundreds of other teachers to the title!
It’s hard to write an article like this, without sounding like a massive cliché, so I’ll get those out the way now. Moving to China to teach English has changed my life. I have grown and changed in more ways than I can even begin to count. And yes, you should do it. If not China, somewhere else in the world! (Although I’d thoroughly recommend Asia)
Inspired to live and work in China and explore all it has to offer? Then take a look at the links below for jobs! If you have a degree and a TEFL qualification the China really is your oyster!