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Great schools nationwide with options for Professional, Experienced and beginner teachers in almost every subject!

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Renting an apartment in China

One of the first questions that many applicants ask when they start thinking about teaching ESL in China is: where am I going to live? Some teaching jobs in China offer housing as part of the compensation package, but some do not. This means that some teachers (usually with the help of their schools) will need to rent an apartment. As China grows and develops, the variety of housing options is multiplying. Part of the fun of teaching abroad in China is figuring out what option is right for you!


The first step in finding housing is to determine what your budget is and how that fits in with the local housing market; your school should have some basic knowledge of the local housing market to assist with this. In larger cities, like Shanghai and Beijing, you can start your search by using a variety of English language websites and agents that cater to the expatriate community. These can be a good choice because they are accustomed to dealing with ESL teachers in China and the kinds of things that they are looking for in an apartment. However, you will pay a premium for those English language services in the form of potentially inflated rent and high agency fees (up to 35% of one month’s rent).


An alternative option to this is to use a Chinese speaking agent or Chinese language website and have a staff member from the school, student or friend translate it for you. This will give you access to a larger variety of housing options at more affordable prices. You probably won’t find an amazing deal working with an English speaking agent, but you may have a much better chance of finding a steal with a Chinese one. But be prepared to visit lots of apartments and be aware that many times the pictures online do not reflect what the apartment actually looks like.


After you find the right apartment at the right price it is time to sign the lease. Dates can be flexible but are typically for one year. Other important things to note about your lease are the dates that rent must be paid and for how many months (many Chinese leases include provisions for payments of three months at a time). It will also be necessary to pay a deposit to your landlord (usually one or two months’ rent) and to pay your agency fee (between 25—35% of one month’s rent) upon signing the lease. You will probably be responsible for utilities (water, gas, electric) and internet. Apartments are usually furnished, but you will need to purchase your own pots, pans, dishes, etc.


Teaching English in China is an adventure and every great adventure needs a base to start from. Establishing a comfortable home for yourself will help you get the best out of your experience teaching abroad in China, so use all available resources to find the right place for you; and happy (apartment) hunting!

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Happy Teaching Nomads

  • Elsie,SA Placed in Shanghai

    I met Sophia Isis at a time in my life when I needed to make a positive career move. She helped me find a position in which I feel challenged, motivated and where I have the opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge as a teacher.
  • Darlene, USA Placed in Shanghai

    Teaching Nomad considered my qualifications and provided me with several appropriate placement options. I was hired in less than a month! Recruiter, Sophia Isis, made the process easy and was a joy to work with.
  • Andrew, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I didn't know what professionalism was until I started working with Sophia Isis. She has always responded to my questions and comments promptly and in a friendly manner. With Sophia I have truly found my dream contract.
  • Christo, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I can't imagine even thinking of moving to China without the support of the team at Teaching Nomad. If it was not for them, I probably would have been on the next plane back home.
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Teaching Nomad is your connection to teaching in China! We are a western owned and operated teacher placement agency operating in China. We take a lot of pride in connecting teachers with great teaching opportunities all over the country.

 

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