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Home » Travel Money

China: A Teaching Holiday

Submitted by on 10/11/2011 – 12:35 pmNo Comment
Chinese children in class

Photo from Flickr by drs2biz

For many of us, travelling abroad summons to mind the following: an opportunity to experience new cultures and see a different way of life, which in turn leads to us having an enriching, life changing experience which we’ll look back on for the rest of our lives.

What better way to do this than teaching English abroad. One of the perfect places to do this is China where you can really experience Asia in all its spectacular glory.  You’ll even get paid for your efforts, meaning you get to travel to a far flung destination at no cost to you and stay for a number of months, getting to know the people, experience the cuisine and pick up the language in the process.
If you’ve never before considered doing something like this, it can be difficult to know where to start, so I’ve put together some tips to get you started:

Consider taking a TEFL course

It’s not absolutely necessary to get the TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) but it will give you a better chance of landing a placement and you might get paid more for having it. You’ll usually find that you’ll be accepted in many countries simply by having a university degree but it’s important to do your research first. 

Choosing the right destination

If you fancy giving China a go, you’ll need to pick a specific destination as it’s a truly huge destination spanning over 3.7 million square miles, and with a massive population of around 1.4 billion people, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English.
For some, the bustling metropolitan cities of Shanghai or Beijing might be the ideal destination, or, if you really want to experience the real China, then it’s worth considering a more rural location.  If you do opt for a less populated area, you may find the language barrier a problem, which leads me on to my next tip…

Learn the lingo

It really is crucial that you learn the lingo before you travel as this well make it easier for you to teach and you’ll find it much easier to communicate when you’re buying food or shopping.  You don’t have to be able to speak fluent Mandarin to be able to teach English as a foreign language but I’d highly recommend at least learning some basic phrases and greetings (this can really help to break the ice when you first start teaching your class).

Mandarin is a difficult language for us English speakers to pronunciate, but you’ll find it much easier to pick up if you use Pinyin; this uses the English alphabet to teach you the pronunciation of each word so you can get it to sound right and be more easily understood.

Where will you stay?

Before you jet off, it’s important to make sure you have your accommodation all sorted, the last thing you need is to have to sort this out when you’re tired and in a new place with no idea where to go.  Arranging your accommodation before travelling will also ensure that you don’t end up having to stay in rundown accommodation which could tarnish your teaching experience in this otherwise amazing country.
It’s a good idea to chat to other individuals or friends who have taught in China and seek their advice to ensure you make the right decision when it comes to deciding where to stay.  You’ll also find it easy to chat to others on one of the many forums full of people who have travelled abroad to teach English.  
You may also find that your accommodation is packaged for you by the company paying you to teach in China, and this will make things much easier (this could mean you earn less, so weigh it up against arranging the accommodation yourself to see if you could make a saving).

Money and insurance

You might not get paid a huge amount of money to teach English in China, but you will find that your money spreads that little bit further due to the lower cost of living to be found there.  If you can, it’s a good idea to save for a while before travelling to top up your income and allow you to experience more of what this amazing country has to offer (you may also need this to survive on until you receive your first pay packet and work out where the best places to eat are).
Teaching in China might not be a holiday as such but it’s still a good idea to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to make sure you are covered for any unlikely eventualities such as the loss or theft of your cash, an injury or lost luggage.  You’ll find that a single trip policy won’t cover you for an extended duration trip so it’s wise to look for a backpacker’s policy which will give you protection for a longer period of time.  To make finding a policy that little bit easier, why not click here to visit the MoneySupermarket.com comparison website and save some money on your policy.
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Terry Fletcher has written 4 articles. Terry “Turbo” was an international recruit. Plucked from his run of the mill life in the UK after a covert surveillance mission. Terry is the “can do” member of the team, never failing, never missing. There aint a word he can’t type. Wanted in 19 countries for crimes committed on a Scrabble board! Since being recruited Terry hasn’t looked back.

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