Teaching English is a safe way to get paid whilst travelling the world and I have taught English full time for a couple of years in order to fund my travels whilst becoming immersed in local culture. Being in one place for an extended period of time really allows you to get to know a place and gives you the opportunity to do as much as possible… plus getting paid for it is rather nice! The highest level of demand for English teachers in the world right now undoubtedly comes from China and this post addresses the benefits of teaching English in China. After my first year teaching English in South Korea, I was extremely close to taking a contract in China as the 10 benefits of teaching English in China listed on this page are just a few highlights.
If you are interested in teaching English in China, you can find out more generic information on my Teaching English in China page or my FAQs About Teaching English in China page. If you are looking for a job in China, you can apply for jobs on my Apply To Teach English in China page. Whilst the benefits of teaching English in China are numerous, below are ten benefits of teaching English in China cited by people who have actually taught in China.
Finding A Job In China Is Easier Than You Think
Finding a job teaching English in China isn’t as daunting as it may seem at first. English teachers are in incredibly high demand and the visa process is actually quite simple as your school will walk you through the process. The recruitment agency that I work with implements a strict vetting process for all partner organisations, only offering positions at trusted, organised, and well-structured schools.
“At first I was concerned about the application processes taking a very long time and being unduly intrusive, but actually it was quite simple. The school in China were very helpful, telling me the documents I needed to send them (copy of my Degree Certificate, Criminal Record Check, and copy of my TEFL Certificate) and all the paperwork was sorted with the Z Visa in my passport within weeks of starting my initial application.”
Will Perrins, Shenyang
The Cost Of Living In China Is Very Affordable
The cost of living in China is very low in comparison to most Western countries. Teachers are able to eat out every night at a decent restaurant for as little as 10-15 RMB (£1-1.50) a head, a pint of beer at a local expat bar is usually around 10 RMB (£1), and use of most cities’ public transport is 1RMB (10 pence) for a bus ride or 2RMB (20 pence) on the metro.
Travelling around the country is also easily affordable, allowing you to combine getting paid and travelling, with both cheap domestic flights and affordable high speed rail links connecting the whole of China. Teaching salaries in China are very generous when compared to the cost of living and teachers often save upwards of 50% of their salary each month.
“So far, most of my money has gone on travelling and food, but if I wanted, I could easily save two-thirds of my wages, and I plan on doing so in a few months.”
Josh Oakley, Hangzhou 2017
China Is A Vast & Diverse Country With Lots To See
China is fascinating country boasting the world’s oldest continuous civilisation at 6,000 years old. It is home to a vast and diverse array of attractions and wonders, from the astounding Great Wall of China to the awe inspiring floating mountains of Zhangjiajie. Teachers in China often spend their weekends and holidays exploring this beautiful and ancient country, with some living in China for decades and still barely scratching the surface of what the country has to offer.
“After 5 and a half years of living and traveling in China I have seen so many diverse and beautiful places. I’m still excited to explore the Northwest, Yunnan, and Tibet, and I hope to do so in the near future! I have always traveled by train and love it! Even those 25 hour trips across the country.”
Art Benoit, Ningbo
Friendships That Will Last A Lifetime
China has over 160 cities with populations in excess of 1 million and an increasing number of citizens in these are ex-pats. Ex-pat communities in China are, without exception, welcoming, kind, helpful, and easy to find. Soon after arriving in China you can expect to be introduced to the local expat haunts by fellow teachers at your school, and quickly make friends and connections in the city from around the world. Locals in China are always anxious to make foreign friends and express genuine interest in your country and culture. Even after returning to their home country, many teachers keep in regular contact with their friends from China.
“I play on a 5-a-side football team with other foreign colleagues and Chinese locals. The bar and club scene is developing, but newly opened bars have sprung up, which are a great way to meet new people”
Andrew Ferguson, 2016 Chongqing
There Is A Huge Demand For English Teachers In China
China currently has over 300 million English languages students – that’s just a fraction less than the entire population of the USA! With a new generation of Chinese citizens growing up in an ever-outward facing country, learning the world’s number 1 business language from an early age has become vital. Because of this, a huge range of opportunities are available teaching English in China to students of different ages and abilities across the country. You can afford to have preferences with regards to location and age groups before accepting a position and really shop around to find the perfect role for you. If you are looking for a job teaching English in China, apply here. Good luck!
“Those with experience and qualifications can command high-paying salaries, executive housing, and worry-free contracts, while those who are new to China or don’t possess desirable qualifications can still find jobs for up to $30 USD an hour.”
Richelle Gamlam, On the ESL Industry in China. Go Overseas 2016
You Can Make A Measurable Difference
Having purpose or meaning in life is important to all of us and teaching is a profession unlike any other. Having the opportunity to impart knowledge and skills onto others, then seeing your students demonstrate what they have learnt is a unique and gratifying experience. Traditionally, the Chinese education system uses a ‘rote’ learning method (listen to what the teacher says and write it down 100 times until you remember). ESL teachers in China have the freedom to implement a more varied approach to teaching – not only by helping them to develop English, the world’s business language, but also bringing a fresh cultural mix of teaching methods to the classroom. You will be part of changing the mindset of individuals who will make up the future of a country that has been quite insular in the past, but is now a powerhouse in the modern world.
“I had expected the children to be very well disciplined here, pertaining to the stereotypes which are very true. Students here are so lovely and it is very easy to create friendships and impart knowledge to them”
Patricia Coogan, Chengdu
Developing Transferable Skills
Being able to impart knowledge and communicate successfully across cultural barriers are skills that can be transferred to almost any profession. In fact, many jobs, no matter what sector, depend hugely upon the ability to communicate and if you are able to effectively communicate to a group of children with a different native tongue and cultural upbringing, you can use these skills elsewhere to be an effective communicator (or public speaker).
The organisational skills teachers gain stands them in great stead to succeed in any careers path they choose to take, not to mention the language skills teachers develop during their time in China. Often you find that the top leaders within business and government have, at their core, the skills to both effectively communicate and organise themselves and the team around them.
“Be prepared to be flexible, honest, and friendly, and Chinese people will welcome you with open arms. Also try as much as you can with learning the language, even if you feel silly, as they will really appreciate it.”
Alice Benson, Chengdu
China Is A Global Superpower
China is home to almost 1.4 billion people: That’s one fifth of the world’s population! China is also the second largest global economy and is expected to overtake the United States in 2018 as the largest. Having an understanding of the culture, language, and traditions of China has stood teachers in excellent stead for a diverse range of careers in areas such as higher education, international entrepreneurialism, and corporate business. As China continues to grow, leading businesses will be looking for individuals who can bridge the gap between China and themselves.
“Our favourite thing about China so far is the general excitement of day to day life. The experiences and challenges we face have opened our eyes to a completely new culture and way of life.”
Louise Jaye, Fuzhou 2016
Food In China
China is one of the most exciting countries in the world for individuals seeking culinary adventure. From the sweet Cantonese food in the South to the universally revered spicy Sichuan delicacies of the west, China has a dish to suit all pallets. From traditional salted pork and beef to the exotic and unusual food available at niche street markets -including scorpion, tarantula and stinky tofu – Chinese food is an attraction not to be overlooked and will make up an interesting aspect of your day to day life.
“Dim-Sum is, without a shadow of doubt, my favourite food in China. I am a vegetarian and I will admit that it can be a challenge always finding food, but everywhere you go you can find a BBQ stand that has cabbage and onions on the go and it’s cheap and tasty.”
Daisy Guy, Foshan (A vegetarian take on food in China)
Cross-Cultural Understanding & Sensitivity
The world is becoming a smaller place day by day. From Universities to small and global businesses, institutions worldwide are placing internationalisation at the forefront of their priorities as businesses and educational organisations now operate across borders. Having the ability to immerse yourself in a different culture is more important than ever. Teaching English in China gives you the opportunity to take on a fully immersive experience, step outside your comfort zone, and keep in step with global trends.
“What global companies look for are people who can take a global perspective. Those who succeed can work in multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural, and multi-locational teams…”
Sonja Stockton, Owner MyGraduateCareerCoach + PwC Alumnus
The Many Benefits Of Teaching English in China
As you can see, there are a huge number of benefits of teaching English in China. It’s the reason I applied to teach in China in the first place. Many of my friends have loved their time teaching in China and due to the high quality of life they lead, they many end up staying for many years. Where else can you find a comfortable job that is enjoyable, yet be able to afford to go out for dinner multiple nights a week and go on trips at the weekend?