Shanghai Classroom TEFL Course FAQ

The Course

How much does the course cost?

The course fees can be paid for in either two separate payments (deposit and final payment), or one complete payment. Find the details below:

  • $600 - Non-refundable deposit paid in advance to secure a position in an upcoming course
  • $1,090 - Final payment to be paid before the start of the course
  • $1,690 - Full amount paid up front when booking this course

This amount includes tuition, course materials, certification and moderation fees. You can find information on accommodation, living expenses etc. further down this document. Prices shown in US Dollars.

How to pay for the course?

By this stage, you should have already paid the $600 deposit or the full course fee online by credit card or bank transfer. You have the following options for final payment of tuition:


Pay with cash on arrival

(in RMB or USD)

Bank account transfer or Pay Pal

Bank account transfer

US Dollars

Please remit the amount in US Dollars. Your local bank should convert the currency. You will be responsible for all transfer fees (including bank to bank transfers where applicable).

Bank receipt

Please do not forget to bring and present the bank receipt to the course administrator upon arrival.

2 Weeks ahead

Please arrange to send the bank transfer 2 weeks before the course start date. Kindly send us a scanned copy of your bank receipt at [email protected]


Please note that the bank details for payment of your deposit and for final course payment are different. The final payment should be made either by bank transfer as mentioned above, or at the course location.

Bank account transfer
Account Name:
Teaching Nomad Inc.
Company Address:
3401 Quebec Street, Suite 9150, Denver, CO, 80207
Bank Name:
Routing Number:
Account Number:

How many trainees are there per program?

Small groups of 4 – 10 students is the usual size however the number may go up in summer. Most of the participants are American, British, Canadian or Australian, although we do accept non-native speakers of English who have a good grasp of the English language.


Who are the teaching practice students?

We offer English classes for Chinese students (all ages and levels, but primarily children of ages 5-12) who are interested in improving their English language abilities . Trainees will be scheduled for observed teaching practice both on and off site depending on students’ circumstances. Class sizes typically range from 4 to 10. Trainees will be teaching lessons of 30 to 60 minutes according to class availability.

In addition to standard OTP (Observed Teaching Practice) sessions, trainees will attend weekly public school teaching in cooperation with the Stepping Stones charity. This will be a unique experience not often afforded to ESL teachers in Shanghai; those teaching on the day will be put in front of classes of 30-50 + students and charged with delivering a unique experience that will impact their lives, in the form of a simple English lesson.

I arrived in Shanghai. What should I do next?

Please email us your itinerary as soon as possible and we will arrange for an airport pickup. If you do not wish for or cannot organize an airport pickup, you can either get a regular taxi or the metro (Line 2) to the city. Do not, however, allow yourself to be convinced to take one of the private taxis that some people will try to sell to you in the airport; it is a scam and easily double the price of a normal taxi.

location marker
Our Office

You will be required to come to the Teaching Nomad office at the beginning of the course for orientation, please see the directions.

What should I bring with me to the course?

Laptop or Notebook
Lesson preparation

Watch or Phone
Time management

Flash driver (USB stick)
To print materials
for lessons

What does the course consist of?

Through the four weeks of the course you will learn both the theory and practical elements of teaching; this includes classroom management, rubrics, games, and so on.

Accompanying this is the all-important OTP (Observed Teaching Practice) where you will both watch co-trainees teaching classes and teach while being observed by your co-trainees; the feedback you give and receive during these sessions will be invaluable for your training!

You will also attend several classes of a completely foreign language in order to complete your Foreign Language Journal; languages previously taught include Farsi and Malay, as the goal is to introduce a completely new language that no trainees would have studied previously.

The course also requires you to observe professional ESL teachers doing their thing; this is almost always a weekend ordeal, but you can select those you observe to better suit your own schedule.

Where is the course held?

Our school is in a shopping mall in Hongkou in northern Shanghai.


Metro line 3 Dongbaoxing road station

This is where both the training sessions and Observed Teaching Practice lessons will be held. Stepping Stones-related classes will be held elsewhere, you’ll receive more information on this once the course starts.

Living in Shanghai

Do I have to register with the police?

If you’re staying in a hostel/hotel you will need to register at the police station for the area you’re in WITHIN 24 HOURS of arriving in China. If you are renting an apartment, Airbnb, or staying with a friend, you should ask your host or landlord to help you get registered. These are official policies of the Chinese government and compliance is a must. Not doing this can bite you back later on, especially if you plan on staying and working in China.


Accommodation & check-in times?

We collaborate with a local hostel that’s six subway stops away from the school.

  • Dorms are available at $14/night
  • Students are welcome to arrange their own accommodation, and studios in Shanghai can be found for as little as $800/month.

We’d be happy to help you arrange private accommodation, just email [email protected] for more information.

The check-in time at the aforementioned hostel will be from 9pm to 6pm on the Monday prior to the start of the course. Check-in times in different hostels/hotels etc. will vary. If you would like to come to Shanghai earlier please email us and we can assist you with arrangements. Since housing is offcampus, you’re welcome to stay in Shanghai after the course is over, and we can even offer you discounted trips around China through one of our partners.

Where will I eat?

Our office is in downtown Shanghai (Jing’an district), and our school is in a big mall in the Hongkou district. Restaurants offering a variety of cuisines are within walking distance; there are Western, Cantonese, Japanese and local Chinese eateries. For those who don’t want to leave the school, most companies offer delivery and you can ask our trainers for assistance in ordering. Prices range from 1 to 10 dollars for a meal, with most decent places averaging at 3-5 dollars for a meal. Breakfast items can be purchased for as little as fifty cents.

How much money do I need for living expenses?

During the four-week course you should have about $500 – $1000 USD to cover general living expenses, depending on your spending habits. Bring more if you expect to hit the nightclubs and order bottle service every night, but most locals and many foreigners living in Shanghai get by spending less than $500 on food and entertainment and enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle. Currency exchange can be easily done at any local bank. You are left to your own devices two days a week and will be informed if there are any activities.

Average housing/living expenses in China

The cost of living in China varies. For entertainment, food, transportation and daily activities it is very low. Housing in Shanghai as in all major cities varies based on how close you live to the city center.

Rent for a two-bedroom in downtown Shanghai will be at least 5000rmb ($850) a month. You can get the same deal for half that in the suburbs, and a two-bedroom in a smaller, tier-3 city can be as low as 600rmb (100$USD).

On average a good lifestyle in Shanghai will cost about 2,500RMB to 4,000RMB per month (excluding housing) depending on what your interests are.

English Teachers in Shanghai can expect to make between 12,000 – 17,000 RMB per month so you’ll be able to save a ton of money while living very comfortably.

What if I get sick? Are there western-style hospitals?

If you need medical attention, Shanghai has numerous hospitals. There are two types of hospitals:

Chinese hospitals

Chinese hospitals are clean and affordable but can be very crowded.

Foreign hospitals

The foreign hospitals have foreign staff and are extremely clean and efficient, but cost significantly more.


Check the coverage with your insurance provider to see which options are available to you.

What is the climate like in Shanghai?

The climate is similar to New York City; autumn is the best season and is called the golden season by locals. Specific weather information can be found online (Dec, Jan and Feb are the coldest seasons in Shanghai; the temperature would be as low as 1 or 2 Celsius degree. June, July and August are the hottest seasons. The temperature is between 25-35 degrees.) All facilities have heating and air conditioning units.

What can I expect from culture shock?

If you come from a Western country, particularly one without high population density, culture shock is almost guaranteed. Some things you’ll notice to begin with is how often people will spit (even indoors), staring (sometimes people may also try to take photos of you), and the fact that very few people will speak English. All of this will ease off with time, though, as you become used to everything and pick up more Chinese.

What about the internet in China?

The Chinese government has notoriously blocked hundreds of websites since about 2009. Websites blocked include Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. While there are ways to circumvent the Great Firewall, some alternatives can also be offered, such as those shown below.

Search engine

Not as popular as Google, but still get the job done (most of the time).


A must-have maps app when living in China.


Not up to YouTube’s standard, but if you’ve got nothing else…


China’s primary chat and social media outlet. You can get by without WeChat in Shanghai, but you’ll be very disconnected and inconvenienced.

Explore Shanghai

One of many apps with the same function; use this to navigate Shanghai’s efficient and crucial metro subway system.

China Air Quality Index

While Beijing is the world’s top dog for pollution notoriety, Shanghai is not far behind. Keep an eye on the AQI (Air Quality Index) to know when you want to bring along that face mask.


Your new best friend for any translation – well, kind of.

Baidu Maps

You just gotta have this app.

XE Currency

A helpful currency exchange rate app for adjusting to living with RMB.


The internationally successful taxi service is also in Shanghai. You will need to provide a destination address in Chinese for it to work, but it can be a lot cheaper than the standard taxi service.


VPNs – Should you opt to use a VPN to access blocked online content in China, you will definitely benefit from the app for whatever service you decide to use. NOTE: Do not leave your VPN on all the time while using mobile data, it will drain your data and cost you a lot of money.


Free & unlimited


Free & unlimited

Express VPN

Month/Year Paid Subscription

Do I need to buy an adapter for my phone/laptop charger?

Chinese plug sockets typically accept the same plug used in Australia, New Zealand, and some other countries around the world. Those coming from outside these regions will require an adapter. Read more about plugs and sockets used internationally here.

Will I need to get a Chinese phone?

You will likely not need to get an entirely new phone, but we can help you get set up with a Chinese SIM card shortly after your arrival. In order to do this your phone will need to be unlocked; some manufacturers and service providers unlock by default, but it’s best to check with your network before coming to China.

Can you get foreign goods in China?

Yes! There area variety of import shops and import sections in supermarkets throughout Shanghai (there’s one right across the street from our school in Hongkou). You can also check out these companies for your imported goods. They also do deliveries!

City Shop is the largest chain store in Shanghai dealing in a most extensive range of imported foods and daily necessities from around the world.

Online grocery shop

European wine delivery service

TEFL Certificates

Can I teach back home with my certificate?

Yes it’s possible, though the requirements for working in ESL or TEFL in many western countries are different and sometimes need graduate education in the field. Also, the cost of living in Western countries is significantly higher and there will be less room for you to save as much money or enjoy the same lifestyle you would if you stayed in China.


Where can I teach with my TEFL certificate?

In short: you can teach English with your TEFL/TESOL certificate just about anywhere in the world. Non-English-speaking countries are obviously easier to find work in and can be more or less rewarding depending on the location. Teaching Nomad alone provides support for job hunters in China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore; however this is only the top of a very large pile!


How does getting a visa work?

You will need to acquire a tourist visa (L-Visa) to attend this course. You can obtain it from your local consulate or a travel agent, though the former is more common.

You can find your local consulate’s website by Google searching for “Consulate General of the People’s Public of China in , for example.

Please check your local consulate’s website for any changes in visa policy; at the moment of writing (April 2016), you will need the following documents to apply for a Chinese tourist visa.


What do I need to know about working in China?

Foreign English teachers are always in great demand at various institutions and schools around China. Our recruiting section in Teaching Nomad will start looking for a suitable position for you once you start the course, and will provide ongoing job assistance. In addition, we will rewrite your resume, give you pointers on demo-classes and prepare you for any interviews you may have.

Schools should assist you in applying for a working visa, and our recruiting division only works with schools that have the license to do so. If a school wants you to work on a business or spousal visa, move on and find another position. Not only is it illegal, but a school that isn’t able to obtain the license to hire foreign staff usually has bigger problems that you might not be aware of until you start working there. The vast majority of schools will pay for you to do a health check and other visa-related expenses, but these are usually reimbursed after you’ve begun your work.

If you are planning on seeking work in China, please bring along a high-quality scanned copy of your diploma and university transcripts. Most municipalities only issue working permits to holders of a Bachelor’s Degree, and a TEFL certificate. Schools in certain less developed areas will be able to get you a working visa with a TEFL certificate alone if you don’t possess a degree, but it’s not technically legal. As such, it is certainly more difficult to find employment if you don’t possess a Bachelor’s Degree, and it will almost always be illegal in some way. Non-native speakers of English also face a slightly more competitive job-market, but if they have a neutral accent plus experience teaching or working abroad, obtaining employment in China shouldn’t be too difficult. Please contact us regarding future employment before the start of your course so we can begin looking for suitable positions.

Finally, only a handful of municipalities issue work permits to teachers over the age of 60 or under the age of 22. Of the three disadvantages listed (Bachelor’s Degree, non-native English speaker, age), being either too young or too old is the most serious obstacle to overcome.

What’s the average starting salary in China?

Average salaries in China range greatly depending on different cities, local cost of living and how much you want to work. The average ESL salary ranges from 11,000-15,000 RMB per month in Beijing/Shanghai China to 5,000-10,000 in more rural areas. If you add in overtime and part-time tutoring gigs it’s possible to earn upwards of 25,000 as a recent TEFL-graduate, although you’re unlikely to have much time to spend your hard-earned cash.

Full time or part time?

While searching for ESL teaching work in China you will find the distinction between part time and full time work often mentioned, but seldom explained.

In short, full time work in this case is much the same as full time work anywhere else in the world – you sign a contract, are granted a working visa, and are salaried.

Part time jobs, however, function slightly differently and are somewhat more like freelance or contracting positions.

These typically have an hourly rate wherein you earn based on the amount of classes you take per week and how long those classes are.

How soon can I start searching for a job? Can Teaching Nomad help me?

Teaching Nomad can begin assisting you in finding a job at just about any stage during the course. You are, of course, welcome to begin your own search at whatever time suits you best. Application processes for ESL teachers are typically rather fast, and many potential employers will be recruiting for someone to start ASAP or at a set date (start of a semester).

Teaching Nomad

Do Chinese schools provide accommodation for ESL teachers?

This largely depends on the region and city in question; in Shanghai, most employers would offer a housing stipend at most, as finding accommodation as an English-speaker without any Chinese is doable. However, outside of Shanghai or Beijing it will get more difficult to communicate without any Chinese, and as such, many schools will offer to provide accommodation dedicated to ESL teachers.



Recover your password

Send us your email and we will send you instructions to reset your password

If you remember your password