It’s finally over. After a gruesome life-long struggle: all the hard work, the endless nights of studying, the parties, the memories, the new friends; you are now a college graduate. What’s next? All your life you have dreamt of this moment. Some choose to take a break. Others debate whether to travel the world, pursue a higher education, or simply dive right into the work field. Perhaps more than one of these options interest you. For me, all I knew is that I wanted to live my life to the fullest. I wanted to explore all the places I had never seen, view life through a different perspective, but also gain some useful work experience along the way. This is my story.
Traveling while working abroad has been a life changing experience. Recently, this idea has slowly risen in popularity, as more and more college graduates dare to venture out into the unknown. It is always a difficult choice to leave one’s own comfort zone, to choose a path against the conventional norm. Think about it though; what is there to lose? If you have that itch to see what the rest of the world has to offer, what better time to try than during your youth when you have the least amount of responsibilities?
In today’s economy, job security after receiving an undergraduate degree is not guaranteed. Rather than settle for a typical 9 to 5 day job, why not take a chance to enrich your cultural diversity and gain some practical work experience? Nowadays, firms are not searching for candidates with just a perfect resume. What is even more appealing than a perfect GPA is someone with a great story who is not afraid to think outside the box. Taking the opportunity to explore different lifestyles around the globe will not only broaden your horizon, but will also promote personal development and help plan for a future that you truly desire.
There is nothing to lose, only life experiences to gain. Teaching abroad in China pays well above the average salary of a native worker. Even more interesting, the wages from teaching abroad are also comparable to the average salary of a recent college graduate in the United States. If the salary for teaching abroad is similar to the wages of entry level positions in America, why not take this opportunity to travel while being paid the same salary? The very minimum pay for teaching in China is 8,000 RMB ($1,260 USD) a month but for Education majors it can be as high 30,000 RMB ($4,725 USD) a month. Teaching hours for full time positions are around 20 hours a week, which leaves plenty of time for private tutoring. In fact, tutoring usually pays a minimum of 200 RMB to 300 RMB an hour, and can go up to 600/hour for licensed subject teachers.
It really depends on what one wants to do. Some may want to teach in a small village in central China where the cost of living cost is close to nothing, and the experience priceless. Others may want to teach in cosmopolitan cities like Shanghai where the pay is substantially higher, but then again, so is the cost of living. Even in big cities like Shanghai, however, the cost of living is still not even close to the cost of living in the United States.
To sum it up, I deeply encourage all of you recent graduates to truly contemplate how you want to live the next few years of your lives. If you can relate to any portion of the material above, perhaps taking some time to teach in China is an option worth exploring. Personally, I believe the lessons and experiences I have gained from teaching abroad are invaluable and I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. Whichever path you choose, just make the most of it and you will only continue to grow.
By John Ma, John completed TN TEFL Academy’s 120-hour Shanghai classroom TEFL course in August 2015, and has been teaching in China since.
About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!