When looking for an ESL teaching job that’s not only going to pay well in terms of cost of living, but also give you an amazing cultural experience, you should consider teaching English in China; it will be one of the most amazing ESL teaching experiences you’ll ever have. You’ll have the opportunity to teach some very keen ESL students, witness amazing cultures, indulge in a lifestyle that perhaps you won’t have the opportunity to experience elsewhere, sample some of the world’s best cuisine, and meet some of the most hospitable people in the world.
Given the sheer size of China and the increasing need to know English, ESL jobs in China are plentiful. Many ESL teachers in China have the intention of staying just one year teaching English, however, a great number of them decide to stay on and immerse themselves into the Chinese way of life even more. Chinese people are very welcoming and curious; they will open their arms and homes to you and they’ll take great pride sharing their culture and customs with you should you decide to work as a teacher in China.
You could find yourself teaching anywhere from a private language school that has 12 students on average, at university, or in a public school where you might be instructing 50+ students. The size may be daunting, especially for a new ESL teacher, however, generally speaking Chinese students are very conscientious and love to learn English. Due to cultural differences, you may find it difficult to at first get your students to open up to participating in more communicative ‘silly’ activities, however, once they grow used to it, Chinese students, young and old are just as responsive as other EFL students found elsewhere.
The cost of living in China is still relatively low, even in the major hubs like Shanghai and Beijing, which is why the average ESL teacher’s salary in China of approximately $1,500 is excellent. This is more than enough to survive on, and in fact you’ll be able to have an extravagant lifestyle and still have money to spare at the end of the month. If you even wanted to, you’ll be able to afford to eat at a restaurant every night – where else in the world would you be able to do that?
In many EFL teaching posts in China, you’ll be automatically assigned your own ‘welfare assistant.’ This is something similar to having your very own full-time personal assistant at your disposal whenever you want. Your assistant will help you order dishes in restaurants, help you out if you get stranded somewhere, assist you in paying bills, and even help you transfer money home if you need to.
When teaching English as a second language in China you can expect to teach approximately 20 hours per week including Saturdays; although the reality is that most foreigners work fewer hours than this. If you’re looking to supplement your income, there are also a lot of private tutoring opportunities if you’re willing to work over the standard 20 hours. In most cases you can earn approximately 200 RMB (£20).
China’s a great place to live and work whether you choose to stay only 2 months or 2 years. If you want to earn a decent salary and experience some of the most magical places while being given rock star treatment, China is worth checking out.