Let’s delve in to answering any questions you might have about teaching and living in China. You can always submit more via our submission form.
What should I expect?
China is a fascinating country and you can expect a wonderful time here learning about a new country and language. As you would expect anywhere new, you may get homesick or find it tough, but in the long run, you will truly enjoy your experience.
Will I get paid?
Yes, of course. We don’t work with unscrupulous schools.
When will I get paid?
Most schools, including the ones we work with will pay you on the 15th of the following month. Ipso facto, you will receive payment for the whole month of March on the 15th April. Bear this in mind when budgeting as it could be a long time before you get paid at the beginning, or get a full wage if you start mid-month.
Is there a probationary period?
Yes, lots of schools require you to work the first month or two on probationary terms which may or may not include a reduced amount of pay. That is generally agreed upon at interview.
How long will it take to process my visa?
To obtain a working visa, you need a minimum of about 4-8 weeks depending on your country of origin and whether you have to apply for documents you don’t currently have, so bear this mind. If you are serious about going to China to teach, then you can start the process before you even accept a job offer. This guy provides a good overview of the process for most native speakers.
How much does the visa cost?
It varies from country to country and depending on how much you have to spend to get all the paperwork notarised and authenticated. Refer to the link above to check out the process and figure out which parts will apply to your unique situation. One thing to note is that UK medicals can be extremely expensive.
Will I get reimbursed for my visa?
You need to discuss this when you interview. Most schools will expect you to cover those costs though.
How about my flight?
Flights are generally refunded when you complete your contract. You won’t get a refund if you don’t complete at least a year though, so bear that in mind if you intend to leave early as a lot of your money will come towards the end.
Is China expensive?
Yes and No – depends where you live and what you like doing.
How much do I need to live on a month?
Varies massively. The most expensive cities by far are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. These “tier-one” cities will require you to spend exorbitant amounts on your rent and most schools are unwilling to even provide accommodation anymore in those cities. Thus living in a tier-one city will mean you blow most of your money on rent, plus higher living costs. A budget would be between 5-10k rmb a month depending on how you live.
All other cities are considerably cheaper. Most schools will provide you with your rent, so that is eliminated. Food costs are a lot cheaper and bills are negligible. You would spend next to nothing.
What’s considered an English-speaking country in China?
The UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
What if I’m not a native speaker of English?
No worries. You can still teach English. Just expect a lower rate of pay, plus a more problematic visa process. Also, your nationality will affect all of this greatly as well.
What if I don’t speak Chinese?
You’ll probably be okay within your school, but you’re gonna have a hard time for everything else, especially outside of major eastern and southern metropolises. English and other languages are not widely understood within China despite most Chinese people learning English from an early age. The country is so huge and foreigners so thin on the ground that they have little use for it.
Do Chinese people really use chopsticks with every meal?
Yep, pretty much unless they are in a western-style restaurant.
What’s the weather like?
Well, China is huge, so there is not one type of climate for the whole country and it varies massively from season to season. Northern cities endure freezing dry winters while southern cities have warmer, milder ones, yet the whole of China is roasting hot during the summer.
Is it as polluted as they say?
It depends on the city. The eastern and northern cities tend to be horrendous. Cities in the southwest tend to be okay to fine as it’s more rural with less industry. Sanya and Hainan island itself is near perfect.
Do they spit a lot in China?
Yes and you will see a lot of it wherever in China you go.
What’s the internet like?
The internet in China is fast in big cities, so anywhere you would be teaching. Typical speeds are billed at 100MB and up although you rarely get that speed and it can be different even depending on the ISP supplying the building and whether they redistribute the bandwidth within the building before they connect you up. Accessing sites outside of China is a different kettle of fish and expect slow to slower speeds if you can access them at all without a VPN – which leads us nicely on to our next point.
What’s a VPN and do I need one?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network and is essential for any foreigner living in China. If you want access to the “western” internet including sites you regularly use like Facebook and Google plus tonnes of others, then you will need to subscribe to a VPN service before your arrival in China as even the VPN’s are blocked within China. One word of advice, try to avoid the major VPN providers as they get blocked first. Pandapow has been one which has been working somewhat in 2020 but it’s a constantly changing landscape. To check sites and VPN’s currently blocked in China, you need to test them from within China with a Chinese server. Use this site to check.