Learn to TEACH English with TECHNOLOGY. Free course for American TESOL students.

TESOL certification course online recognized by TESL Canada & ACTDEC UK.

Visit Driven Coffee Fundraising for unique school fundraising ideas.

Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Travel, Teach, Live in China

Advice to Prospective Teachers in China (US Embassy)
In Response To: What insurance shall i get (Sarah)

ENGLISH TEACHERS/SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS - Increasing numbers of American citizens are pursuing opportunities to teach in China. Many Americans have enjoyed their teaching experience in China; others have encountered problems. Some Americans have come to China under a contract with promises of good salary, bonuses and other amenities, only to find themselves in tenuous situations often lacking funds to return to the United States. It is therefore important for all potential teachers to investigate the exact terms and conditions of their proposed employment before making a firm commitment. Prospective teachers should always ask for references form other foreign teachers who have completed a contract teaching term and have returned to their home country.

Prospective teachers should also research the town, city or province in which you are planning to work. In China, a city of one million people can be quite provincial and might not have modern infrastructure, western foods or amenities, and adequate healthcare. While some might enjoy this kind of challenge and adventure, others may be very disappointed and unhappy with such placements.

Although many schools provide health insurance which can cover up to 80% of medical expenses, many have found the Chinese medical system, particularly in rural areas, to be inadequate by Western standards. Therefore, all Americans traveling to China are strongly encouraged to buy foreign medical care and medical evacuation insurance prior to their arrival. Since U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States, please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, and if it includes a provision for medical evacuation. Travelers who want a list of modern medical facilities in China can view a list of hospitals, by province, on the U.S. Embassy's website at http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/us-citizen/medical.html.
You should also have confirmed in writing about housing options. It is rare for schools or universities to allow foreigners to live off campus, and some even require that you live in dormitories or other shared living quarters. This is in part a financial consideration for the educational establishments, but is also an issue of security. The institutions wish to protect foreigners from unwanted attention (or what they perceive as unwanted attention) and do not want you to be left to fend for yourself. Remember that in many provincial areas, sightings of western visitors are rare and all foreigners are considered to be wealthy. There have been situations where curfews are imposed (as early as 6:30 pm) and foreign teachers have not been allowed to travel anywhere without a Chinese companion.

Prospective teachers should never come to China without first receiving the proper "Z" or work visa from the Chinese Embassy. Some American teachers have discovered that their employers are unable to assist them in obtaining Chinese employment-based visas and other permits required for foreigners to teach lawfully in China. Consequently, you should not accept a promise by a school or organization to obtain the correct visa after your arrival. Prospective teachers should also be aware that working in China on a tourist visa is illegal and can result in large fines or even detention.

Finally, but very importantly, make sure that you have a proper contract in place, and that you are completely happy with it. You should check that your contract specifies the maximum number of classroom hours per day and per week, maximum workdays per week, and vacation periods. You would be wise to ensure that there is an acceptable early termination clause, so that if you find that your situation is intolerable you will be aware of any penalties that may be payable and the steps you would need to follow if you wish to leave before your original termination date. Take into account that the schools are making a large investment by employing you. If you withdraw early, it can have far-reaching effects for them.

Americans teaching in China, particularly at newly established private secondary schools and private English training centers, have often found their employers unable or unwilling to honor contract terms. The U.S. Embassy cannot act as a legal advisor or negotiate business or personal grievances on behalf of individual citizens. However, Americans experiencing problems can contact the Embassy's American Citizens Services Unit in Beijing (86-10) 6532-3431, extension 5010, 5609 or 5344, or via e-mail to AmCitBeijingATstate.gov to report problems with school employment contracts.

Messages In This Thread

What insurance shall i get -- Sarah
Re: What insurance shall i get -- Reilly
Insurance advice -- Bill Jacot
Insurance Advice -- Bill Jacot
Uk insurance -- Sarah
Insurance advice -- Bill Jacot
Advice to Prospective Teachers in China (US Embassy) -- Martin

Go to another board -