Guest blog by Hello Teacher!

If one of your friends said they were going overseas to teach English, you’d probably guess they were off to Japan, Korea or even South America.
You may not know, however, that China has recently become one of the world’s hottest teach abroad destinations.
So, why are loads of foreigners choosing to teach English in China? Here are four big reasons.

1) Demand for English teachers is booming

With China’s huge population and non-stop appetite for growth, it’s not surprising that the demand for qualified TEFL teachers is equally as high.

You don’t need an economics degree to work out that high demand equals upward pressure on teacher salaries.

With literally tens of thousands of schools across China, and most of them wanting a foreign teacher, teaching in China truly is a candidate market.

Teacher salaries vary. They start from about RMB 6,000 per month in the public sector to as high as RMB 20,000 per month in the private sector.

If you have lots of teaching experience in your own country, and you want to teach at an international school in China, your earning potential is even higher.

While the demand for foreign teachers is high, you’ll need to ensure you meet various eligibility requirements to teach in China.

You need:

  • A passport from a certain country (e.g. USA, UK, Australia)
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A TEFL certificate (unless you have a teaching degree)
  • To be under age 55 (approximate, depends on province)
  • To be in good health and have no criminal convictions.

Need a TEFL certificate? You can find and compare accredited TEFL courses from course aggregators, such as TEFL Source.


2) Chinese culture is weird and wonderful

While a lot of Chinese society is steeped in tradition, the country moves at breakneck speed as it develops and catches up with the Western world.

This symbiotic relationship between culture and progress means that China may seem, well, kind of crazy at times.

But that’s why so many foreigners are flocking to China – they love the organized chaos.

Despite the sheer amount of people, things still ‘work’, trains run on time and people get on with their daily business. Sometimes you’ve just got to sit back and soak it all up.

Food is a big part of Chinese culture. And foreign teachers love Chinese food!

Each region has its own delicacies, ranging from steamed buns in the northern provinces to sweet and sour fish on the southeast coast.

Think you’ll miss the tastes from home? Don’t worry – you can still get Western food ranging from burgers and pizza to fancier dishes like steak.

If you do happen to feel adventurous, there is plenty of weird stuff to eat in China like chicken feet, duck tongue, stinky tofu and even century eggs.

One of the best things about eating in China is the technology that’s involved.

WeChat, one of the most commonly used China apps, can be used to pay for food at restaurants. You can even scan the menu so it appears on your phone.

The app is so versatile, and so popular, that once you start using it you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

There is so much choice when it comes to eating out in China, from street food to fine dining restaurants.

3) Conditions keep improving and the perks are awesome

Teaching in China isn’t the same as what it was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.

As China modernises and grows, the conditions and perks for TEFL teachers keeps getting better.

Teacher housing in China is simple but good. Apartments generally have everything you need including a sofa, kitchenette, washing machine and television.

Some schools in the public sector even offer two-bedroom apartments for the one teacher.

What’s especially great about teaching in China are all the contract inclusions (in other words, the perks!).

It’s pretty standard to expect perks like:

  • Airfare reimbursement
  • Free housing or housing allowance
  • Paid power, water and internet bills
  • Sponsored visa
  • Paid holidays and sick leave
  • Mandarin lessons
  • School trips and activities.

Also, with many teaching jobs in China requiring only part-time hours, you’ll probably forget that you’re actually there to work!

It’s no wonder that China is now a teach-abroad hotspot.

A typical foreign teacher apartment in China.

4) Education is an integral part of Chinese society

Chinese parents want their children to have a good education and to study hard.

From a very young age, usually at kindergarten or the first year of primary school, students start learning English.

While classroom sizes in the public sector are large (about 40 students in a class), teachers are respected and the environment for foreign teachers is fairly relaxed.

Private language institutes have a much better student-teacher ratio, and the facilities and equipment are better. However, they’re open on weeknights and weekends, which is a trade-off for the higher salary.

If you’re going to teach in a Chinese high school, you’ll learn a lot about the gaokao. This is the standardized test which students sit to get into university.

Students study very hard (and memorize a lot!), making it an interesting phenomenon to be a part of. You won’t experience anything like this elsewhere in the world.

Students in China start studying English from a young age.

Some final advice

If you decide to teach English in China, make sure you get the right working visa.
Teachers on a tourist visa have been known to get into a lot of trouble, including deportation.
Put your mind at rest and choose a reputable recruiter who can facilitate the proper visa. It’s not worth the risk going it alone.
So, are you ready to experience a new culture, earn a generous salary, get great perks and be a part of an amazing education system?
Have a great time teaching in China!

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