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!
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and teach abroad in China! One of the things that will be an asset to learn is the art of bargaining. Many of the prices you come across can usually be bargained down whether it’s for groceries, electronics, or even gym memberships. You will come to realize that with a little patience and persuasion you can easily save yourself money. Normally most people today utilize the Internet to find the best prices, online retailers usually can sell items cheaper than local stores while those that like to touch and test the product beforehand use it to find out the lowest local prices.
Western China—Buddhas and Ponies and Pandas; Oh My!
Most teaching positions in China are concentrated in the southern and eastern parts of the country, as these are the most developed areas as of right now. However, there is a growing demand for teachers in the western provinces as they develop their economies and look to increase their English speaking capabilities. My first teaching job in China was in city of Yulin in Shaanxi province, a few hours north of the metropolitan capital city of Xi’an. This area along the Yellow River watershed is widely considered to be one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, and historical and cultural sights abound in the area. Teaching ESL in China gave me the opportunity to visit some of these locations and it can give you the same opportunity! Here are a couple of the highlights from my travels in Western China (all the pictures are mine by the way, but they could be yours!):