Teaching abroad and travelling are popular choices among people who have finished university, but aren’t quite ready to enter the working world. Both are valuable experiences that open your eyes to a new culture and way of life, but which is best? When it comes to exploring the Middle Kingdom, teaching English arguably offers more advantages over travelling. Here are some of the main benefits teaching in China offers over tourism.
Experience More of the Culture
Ancient history, age-old traditions and cultural superstitions combine to make Chinese culture both rich and complex. Visitors get a mere glimpse of this 4,000-year-old civilization, while those teaching in China have the chance to delve deeper and experience more of this fascinating country.
Living and teaching in China, you will discover fascinating cultural differences and language through everyday tasks such as going to the supermarket, commuting and visiting the bank. Living in a typical apartment in a local neighbourhood, you truly will experience how the locals live.
Between life in and outside of work, English teachers in China meet a wide range of people. From your students, to your colleagues, to the street food seller you pass on your commute, your daily routine opens you up to interacting with people from all walks of life. Forming friendships, discovering the language and working with locals will help you better understand and appreciate the culture than perhaps possible as a tourist.
Add to Your CV
Though teaching in China is growing in popularity, many remain under the impression it’s simply for those who wish to begin a teaching career, and may instead choose to travel.
Of course, teaching abroad is extremely advantageous for anyone planning to teach in their home country. Though, what many don’t realise is that it is an enriching experience that equips you with skills useful to almost any industry.
International experience is becoming increasingly sought after by employers. Living and teaching abroad not only gives you this, but also the ability to adapt to a new culture, way of life and working environment. When competing against hundreds of applicants with equally impressive credentials, such experience certainly helps you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re still not sure about the teaching, consider the variety of skills you can gain from it. Public speaking, adaptability, problem solving, and time management are just a few skills teachers use that are sought by employers across the board. Furthermore, foreign language skills are highly desired in many industries. The exposure to native speakers, immersive environment and appealing schedule teaching in China provides, make it ideal for language learning.
An Exciting Way of Life
The reality of teaching in China is just as exciting as it sounds. Even mundane tasks like popping to the shop, taking the bus, or commuting are interesting in a foreign culture. You might have travelled across the world to work, but work is only part of the adventure. There’s always something to learn in your new environment and whether you’re in the classroom or exploring, it’s equally enthralling.
This excitement of daily life is augmented by the appreciation English teachers in China receive from their colleagues and students. The respect for teachers and interest in foreigners among general Chinese society means you will be welcomed into your new home and workplace and feel valued. Moreover, English teachers in China have the opportunity to make a real impact on students’ lives. English education is extremely important in China and the exposure to your native accent and culture will help them hugely. This truly rewarding experience helps you give to the community in a way that is simply not possible for tourists.
Get The Best of Both Worlds by Teaching in China
Foreign English teachers are in particularly high demand in China, making it a very appealing destination to teach in. Long-term English teachers in China receive generous salaries in exchange for teaching an appealing schedule. Salary and working hours depend of course on location, but English teachers in China can earn around 5000 – 17,000 RMB per month and teach for 15-30 hours per week. In addition, most schools provide free accommodation close to the campus, giving English teachers in China with a comfortable lifestyle.
Long-term English teachers in China benefit from several national holidays throughout the year. This, combined with generous salaries and minimal expenses easily allows teachers in China to get the best of both worlds; earning while travelling. A 7-day holiday in October, 4-6 weeks in January and various long weekends throughout the year mean that whether you want a short stop in Japan or a few weeks in Thailand, you’re sure to get the chance!
The Flexibility of Teaching in China
The beauty of teaching in China is the flexibility it offers. If you, like many others, realise towards the end of your contract you haven’t had enough, it’s easy to extend. Your school is likely to offer you a renewed contract, sometimes with a pay rise. Should you decide it’s time to move on, you’ll find that schools across the country are looking for teachers. With some TEFL experience under your belt, you’re sure to find a suitable role.
You may even find teaching in China has whetted your appetite for teaching abroad and a new challenge. Several of our previous teachers have returned to China, while others have embarked on an adventure in a different country. Whatever you choose to do after, you’ll find that teaching in China opens so many doors!