So, you have your TEFL and you are ready for your teaching adventure. But where to? You have the whole world to choose from. Well China should be right up there as a destination of choice. Sure, it will be a bit daunting heading off to a vast Asian country with a culture totally unlike the West. But learning about different cultures, meeting new people – and being just a little out of your comfort zone – is half the fun of TEFL.
Here are three reasons why China should be high on your list of destinations:
- You will be immersed in a remarkable country: China is a huge country of contrasts. It has a population of around 1.4 billion people and covers a vast geographic area.Everyone immediately thinks of the Great Wall, or the Forbidden City in Beijing – but there is so much more to China. It stretches from the majestic Himalayas, home to Mount Everest, in the West to the fertile plains and lowlands bordering the South China Sea in the East. To the North it borders Mongolia and Russia and in the South are Burma, Nepal and Vietnam to name a few.You can visit vast Megacities, like Shanghai with over 21 million residents – which is not far off the same population as Australia – or visit rural farming communities. You can travel on the ultra-modern maglev train in Shanghai at 430 km/h or on a simple powered rickshaw or moped.
The excitement and experiences of living in China are simply too diverse to discuss here, but buy yourself a Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China to give yourself a flavour of the adventures that await.
- Your work will be highly valued: There is huge demand for TEFL teachers in China. Research says that over 300 million Chinese are learning English. Many want to learn English from native speakers, so the demand for TEFL teachers is extremely high.Everybody wants to be valued and in China, you’ll find that people will really respect what you do. There is a strong cultural emphasis on the importance of teaching in China. In fact, the public status of teachers is higher in China than in any other country surveyed by Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Status Index 2018.You’ll have plenty of choice of where and who to teach. You can choose to work in a kindergarten, government or private school, private language school, college or university.But a word of warning. Make sure that you choose your school carefully and do your research before you sign up. There are many fantastic schools in China, but a quick look online will show that some do not respect teachers’ contracts and that terms and conditions promised are not always honoured. By working with a well-established recruiter, like PIC, you can be confident that you are joining a respectable and reliable school.
- You’ll earn enough to save and travel: Salaries vary depending on your experience and qualifications. TEFL qualified teachers can earn up to USD2,000 a month in private schools. Government schools pay between USD1,000 and USD1,700. If you are in the fortunate position of being a fully qualified teacher as well as having your TEFL, you could earn up to USD5,500 a month in some private schools.Many posts also have benefits including free or subsidised housing and some offer free airfares, health insurance and paid holidays.The cost of living in China is low, so you’ll find the money will go a long way. It is more expensive in the big cities than the regions, but salaries will often be higher to compensate. Most people can save to travel to see the amazing geography and culture of China. Some even find they can save money to bring home at the end of their contract.So, take the plunge. You’ll find TEFL in China is an experience which will stay with you a lifetime.