Frequently Asked Questions
About Aclipse and Employers
- What kind of support can I expect from Aclipse and the Chinese employer?
Once you have been matched with a school in China, your employer will be your primary contact and will assist you in getting your Z-visa, booking your flight, arriving in China, and getting to your apartment. They will also provide you with all the relevant details relating to your work experience and living in China such as completing the medical check, opening your bank account, and registering as a resident in China. Throughout the entire process your Aclipse recruiter will continue to offer support to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. You may also receive newsletters regarding "Life in China" and tips for adapting to living and teaching there.
- Are the employers that Aclipse works with stable?
Yes. We can confidently say that any employer we work with is stable, provides an enjoyable work environment, and follows through on their contract conditions and terms of employment.
- I do not have any teaching experience. Will that put me at a disadvantage?
No. There are several teaching placements in China that do not require candidates to have formal teaching experience. However, there are some opportunities where 100 hours of formal teaching experience is necessary to be eligible. Your Aclipse recruiter will help you in securing a placement that matches your experience. All of the employers in China will provide training programs. You will receive ongoing support from your supervising instructors during your employment.
- I’m thinking of enrolling in a TESL/CELTA course. Will that help?
Yes. Most of the teaching placements in China require candidates to have a TESL/CELTA certificate (at least 40 hours and ideally 100 hours). However, you can begin the application and interview process prior to having enrolled or completed a course.
- I don’t speak Chinese. Will I be able to communicate with the students in the classroom when I teach in China?
Yes. Students are encouraged to only use English in the classroom and expect their teacher to only speak to them in English. While there will be varying levels of ability, the teaching materials and techniques you'll be trained to use ensure that students will be able to follow your instruction and participate actively in the lessons.
- Do employers offer free language classes?
While not all employers offer free language lessons, many do. If language lessons are offered, it's a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture and language! All campuses will have local Chinese staff working there so it's also an opportunity for you to practice your Chinese language skills as you learn.
- Can I experience this opportunity with a friend or partner?
Yes. For candidates applying as couples it is possible to be placed together in the same city, school, and/or apartment. For friends, the employer may be able to place you in the same city but in different schools and apartments. While we can't guarantee this for all co-applicants, your preferences will be taken into consideration.
- Can I bring dependents?
While we accept applications from all qualifying candidates, please note that the employers do not offer any relocation assistance for accompanying dependents. Hired candidates seeking to travel with dependents must ensure that dependents traveling with them have the appropriate visa, find their own accommodation, and cover travel costs to and from China.
- Can I state a preference for a particular city location?
Absolutely! Let us know what your preference is, and we’ll do our best to match you with a school in that area. Just keep in mind that placements are ultimately based on the needs of the schools and the availability of teaching positions. Regardless of your preference, the diversity of China should allow you to find a city that meets your needs.
- Do employers have a dress code?
In general, the rule is "smart or business casual.” Visible tattoos are not permitted, and piercings other than earrings must also be removed while teaching. Most employers in China also discourage unusual hairstyles or hair colors, and prefer a more conservative appearance.
- Am I allowed to work other part-time jobs to supplement my income?
No. Z-visas are sponsored by your employer. Your contract will state that employees are prohibited from securing outside employment.
- What does the National Health Insurance plan cover?
Medical attention and prescription medication at a fraction of the regular cost.
- What resources are provided for teachers who teach English in China?
Our main employer in China has its own textbook series for Young Learners, Business, and General English Classes. This series builds progressively on past learning principles and is geared for beginning through intermediate learners. Advanced and test-preparation courses use recognized published course material. Whatever the academic needs, the schools have the scholastic material you'll need to help your students develop their English. In addition, each school has well-equipped classrooms that generally include computer labs, bright student lounges, and teacher-preparation areas.
- What are we expected to teach?
Depending on your placement, you may be teaching kids, university-level students, or adults of varying language ability. Once your placement is confirmed you'll know which age group you'll be working with. Lesson plans are based on the curriculum. Before you begin your teaching placement you'll participate in a comprehensive training program that will give you the tools and techniques needed to be an effective teacher. While there is a standard program to deliver, you'll be encouraged to use your own creativity and individual teaching style to engage students in the lesson material and content.
- Are there any after-school activities in which teachers need to participate?
There may be. For public school positions, teachers may occasionally be asked to participate in activities outside of regular school hours. This is included in the teaching contract, and anything in excess of the required teaching hours or outside regular school hours will be paid at designated overtime rates. For private school placements there would not be any after school activities required.
- What are the visa requirements to teach English in China?
You will be required to obtain a “Z” visa in your home country before coming to China. A Z-visa is issued to a foreigner who comes to China to work long-term. It must be applied for outside of China and is specific to the school and region. It is valid for one year. To comply with government regulations, you must have a health check in order to obtain a work permit and alien employment certificate from the Labor Bureau. You will then be issued a residence permit and another Z-visa by the Public Security Bureau. Aclipse will walk you through each step of the process.
For Z visa application details please visit: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/t1071018.htm
- Who pays for my visa and required visa documents?
Candidates are responsible for organizing and covering the cost of any required documents needed to apply for the Z visa. Your employer covers any expenses related to the cost of the application in China and also reimburses the fee you pay when you apply for your Z visa at the Chinese consulate in your home country.
- How much does a work visa cost?
It can cost up to $130 USD. (This does not include the document collection costs)
- Where is my closest Chinese consulate/embassy?
Please refer to the following website: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/t84229.htm
- I do not feel comfortable submitting my original degree to China for the visa process. Is it absolutely necessary?
Depending on where you will be teaching in China, you may be asked to submit your original degree. You will only be asked to submit it once you have accepted a job offer and it will be returned to you during your training week.
- How often am I paid, and how is my salary deposited?
Typically salary is paid once a month and will be directly deposited into your Bank of China account. Your employer will assist you in setting up your bank account once you are in China.
- Are tax rates very high in China?
Different tax rates are levied on various categories of personal income. Progressive tax rates on income start at 5%.
- What are some monthly expenses that I will have to budget for?
Utilities, transportation to and from work, and daily living expenses. Generally speaking, teachers in China can afford a very good lifestyle.
- What is the cost of living in China?
Currency converter: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
- How much can I expect to save?
Depending on your personal spending habits, you can expect to save anywhere from 10% to 50% of your salary. In general, if you live in a major city like Beijing, your cost of living will be higher. Smaller cities and rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living, so it is easier to save money. On average, teachers save about $1,000/month.
- Is it possible to send money home?
Yes. Several options are available: bank-to-bank transfers, money orders sent via the post office, and third-party agencies (e.g., Western Union) to name a few.
- Can I use my debit card overseas?
Check the back of your debit card for Plus or Cirrus symbols. International ATMs overseas will accept cards with these symbols. You will want to check the symbols above the ATM before using. Also many Chinese ATMS require a six-digit pin number, so you may have to put two zeros at the beginning of your pin.
- Can I use my credit card in China?
Yes. Please remember to contact your bank prior to your departure to inform them you will be traveling overseas. If you do not inform your bank, then it’s possible they will freeze your card to protect you from fraudulent charges.
- What are my start-up costs?
Your initial few weeks in China will require some up-front cash. Many landlords require a deposit plus two months' rent in advance. You may also incur cell phone and living expenses before you receive your first month’s salary. It is recommended that you bring at least one month's salary to help fund your apartment and living start-up costs in China. Employers in China offer up to an 8,000 RMB loan to help offset some of your initial costs. This loan repayment will be taken out of your salary over a three-month period. In addition, you'll be provided with accommodation in a hotel for the first two weeks while you participate in orientation and teacher training. There is also a Welcome Pack which includes meal, transportation, and phone cards.
- Will my flight to China be reimbursed?
GIn some cases your employer in China may be able to cover your flight cost. In other cases you'll be provided with an allowance to offset the cost of the flight. The details relating to any and all benefits you'll be awarded will be provided to you with an offer and will also be included in your employment contract.
- Does my apartment have Internet access?
No, but it is possible to set up Internet access in your apartment. China is becoming increasingly wired. Once you have registered as a resident, you are able to sign up for an Internet service provider of your choice.
- Are any furnishings provided in my apartment?
Typically you will get a semi-furnished apartment with a bed, gas stove, fridge, washing machine (no dryer), TV, table, and chair, plus a western-style bathroom. Western-style bathrooms generally have a shower but not a full bathtub.
- How far is my apartment from the school?
Apartments are typically within 10–15 minutes traveling distance from the school (either by bus, subway, or walking).
- Does the school pay for my commuting costs to work?
You are responsible for your transportation costs.
- I am not interested in leaving to teach English abroad right away. When should I begin the hiring process?
In general, we should receive applications about three months prior to when applicants are interested in leaving for China. For recent graduates who are awaiting conferral of their diplomas, it is possible to go through the hiring process and receive an offer from the employer (offer contingent on receiving the diploma) for positions available up to six months into the future.
- Can I bring my pet with me?
While a pet (cats/dogs) can be brought into China with a 30-day quarantine and appropriate vaccination paperwork, it is often difficult to find pet-friendly apartments. It is not recommended and applicants are advised to leave pets with family or friends while teaching in China.
- Can I have friends/relatives visit me and stay at my apartment?
Yes. Short-term guests are allowed. Please remember that apartment walls are not as thick as in western countries, and teachers and their guests need to be respectful of their Chinese neighbors.
- I will be traveling overseas alone. Is it possible to connect with other teachers before going overseas?
Yes. One of the benefits of working with Aclipse is the support we offer our candidates throughout the process. Teachers are encouraged to create a profile on our social networking site - http://aclipse.ning.com/ - in order to connect with other teachers arriving to teach in China at the same time. Once in China you will meet people in training, as all teachers beginning their teach English abroad experience at the same time will have training together in a centralized location. And you'll be working with other foreign teachers at your local branch, so there will be a lot of opportunity to develop your social network in China. It's one of the benefits of teaching overseas!How many vacation days will I have?Teacher contracts in China provide teachers with 10 paid vacation days per contract. In addition to these days teachers are entitled to the 11 national public holidays. Any other vacation time is at the discretion of the employer. Some vacation time may be pre-set by the employer, while in other cases it may be a system where the teacher applies for or requests the days they wish to have off in advance.