Friends and Family
General Questions about Teaching Overseas
- Who is teaching abroad?
Our applicants to teach English abroad come from all types of backgrounds. All have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, but their majors vary from English literature or humanities to Asian studies or even engineering. Teachers hail from the U.S. and Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Some have teaching experience, but most have never stood in front of a classroom before. However, they all share these traits:
- Curiosity about the world around them. Successful candidates to teach English abroad understand the value of being an international citizen, and they are eager to explore new places.
- Ability to lead and follow. English teachers have far more authority in the classroom than most recent graduates have in their first job. Employers offer structure and support to first-time teachers, but successful teachers possess natural leadership abilities.
- Commitment to knowledge and education. The best teachers are highly motivated and willing to learn about themselves as they pass on knowledge to others.
- Desire to create a strong career foundation. Our instructors want to do more with their career than simply push papers or crunch numbers. They want to see the world and play an active role in improving it.
- How much can one expect to save per month?
Depending on the person's personal financial habits, he or she can expect to save anywhere from 10% to 50% of his or her salary or higher. In general, if the person lives in a major city like Beijing or Shanghai, his or her 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.
- What is teaching English in China like?
Teachers in China are highly respected as role models. The goal of any teacher is to motivate people to gain knowledge and achieve their potential. As the person goes through his or her experience teaching in China, this goal will remain constant. Many alumni who had never taught or had a serious interest in teaching have found the experience surprisingly rewarding. Those who teach English in China get training, lesson plans, curriculum, and an administration system to help them lead classes, but they find that success is determined by the relationships they form with each of their students. Teachers often learn a great deal about themselves during the teaching process as they see how they can positively impact others' lives.
- How will teaching in China help the person long-term?
Teaching English abroad opens a world of opportunities for the rest of the person's life. He or she will gain an understanding and appreciation for other cultures, as well as build an international network and learn marketable skills. Here are a few more examples:
- Awareness of international issues. Companies in many different industries need candidates who have international experience, especially with emerging markets in Asia. The person might find a position in international business management or the travel industry, among other opportunities.
- Strong leadership and communication skills. After his or her experiences in the classroom, the candidate will excel at giving a PowerPoint presentation, leading a brainstorming session, or mentoring new employees. These skills will make the person an asset to any company.
- An ability to succeed in a wide range of environments. This will prove invaluable in any job and in life. The person will be able to pick up new skills quickly and apply existing skills in many different workplace scenarios.
Our career mentoring experts will help clients ease the transition from teaching to the next stage of their career.
Questions about Teaching in China
- How will I keep in touch with my friend or relative while he or she is teaching English abroad?
Staying in touch is never a problem when teaching in China. In addition to Internet access, there are also many low-cost computer-based phone services like Skype.com.
- Will he or she be safe?
Absolutely! Safety is high priority for us, and China is a very safe country for both men and women. Although we occasionally hear reports of protests and demonstrations, Western media often exaggerate these accounts. For more on safety in China, see the U.S. State Department's website at: travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1089.html.
- What if I want to visit the person while he or she is overseas?
That is an idea we encourage. It also great for the person teaching, as it provides a connection with home. It may be a good idea to visit during one of the holidays, to ensure your friend or family member will have some free time. New Year's Day, Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, May Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival, and National Day are holidays that all Chinese citizens enjoy. Among these, two are Golden Weeks (Spring Festival and National Day). Both holidays last for three days but by combining two weekends with them, people benefit from seven consecutive days off.
- What do people do during their free time in China?
Teachers of English in China quickly discover that China has a large population of expatriates teaching and working in the country. This community creates a built-in social network for traveling around Asia or hanging out on weekends. During their off hours, teachers enjoy scoping out the nightlife, trying Chinese cuisine, or traveling. Every city has a thriving nightlife scene with movie theaters, dance clubs, and bars.
- What happens if there's an emergency?
Your friend or family member should register with his or her local embassy upon arrival in China. The Embassy can assist you if there is a family emergency at home and you're unable to reach your friend or family member abroad.
- Will he or she have access to medical services?
Definitely! China is a huge country, and the level and quality of medical care available depends very much on the location. But rest assured that even the most remote villages have medically trained personnel. The big cities, though, have many first-class facilities.
In Beijing, for example, it is possible to go to one of the local Chinese hospitals (no English spoken) and pay ridiculously low prices. Another alternative, which is slightly more expensive, is to go to one of the Chinese hospitals that have a special foreigner/VIP department. Most of these doctors speak English, and many have trained abroad.
We encourage teachers to sign up for overseas health insurance before they leave their home country.