Travel, Teach, Live in China
China is the fastest growing market for English teachers in the world. It has recently become the second largest economy and its burgeoning middle class are hungry to learn English. Culturally and economically, China is the country to be in.
Salaries are substantially lower than Japan, Korea and Taiwan, but with a lower cost of living you can still have a good lifestyle. Just don't expect to save very much money. One thing to remember is that most English teaching positions in China will typically have accommodations and return airfare back to your home country included. Those benefits are definitely not common in other countries anymore.
There is an almost insatiable demand for English teachers in China, which means that even non-native English speakers will also likely find decent employment. The Chinese government is still particularly strict, this is a communist country after all, so make sure you secure your employment and work visa before arriving. Not all employers are trustworthy so get all your benefits and contract details sorted in advance and do your research online. It is advisable to stick with the larger chain schools or public schools until you get more familiar with the teaching environment.
TEFL or other teaching certificates are not absolutely necessary but they don't hurt. Some prior teacher training will better prepare you to teach and you will have an advantage over other applicants.
China is an amazing combination of tradition slamming against modern development. In the larger cities like Shanghai, you will see posh shopping districts with high end brand name stores just blocks away from local shops selling full meals for a few dollars. Thousands of cyclists on old run down bicycles compete with fancy European and Japanese sports cars. In some of the posh shopping areas you can pay $30 or $40 for a pot of tea, while five minutes away you can have a four course meal with a beer for $5.
Teaching English in China is not for everyone. It can be a major culture shock and some teachers are not ready for the roughness and overwhelming mass of humanity that you will confront everyday. Pollution is also a major problem in the cities which makes it hard for outdoor exercise or people with respiratory problems.
For the more adventurous, China is the only place on the planet to be now. Economically, there are fantastic opportunities for more entrepreneurial teachers ready to embrace the culture. A rapidly expanding economy with low cost workers will keep China growing briskly for decades to come. There is still time to ride the boom. Check out this interview with a veteran English teacher in China for more information.
More importantly, English teachers in China will experience first hand one of the oldest civilizations in the world that is still struggling to find its place in the new world order. Get a glimpse into the past and the future at the same time. Do you have what it takes to live and teach in China?
More Teach English in China information and jobs can be found on YouCanTeachEnglish.com