Why Teach ESL in China?

Obviously these are unprecedented times that we are experiencing in 2020, despite this China remains one of the best, if not THE best countries to work and teach ESL in. Let’s have a look at the factors that contribute to this strong statement!

Cost of Living Vs Salary

First of all, I don’t think there is any country in the world that can compete with China in terms of the high salaries offered to teachers, coupled with the relatively low cost of living. For the jobs in China that we offer from Synergy Recruitment UK (click here to see our current jobs), the average salary is approximately 20,000rmb per month ($2,800/£2,300) for a qualified teacher with at least 2 years’ experience. For new graduates with very little or no teaching experience, they can expect to earn approximately 16,500rmb per month ($2,300/£1900). So, as you can see this a pretty decent salary for any location around the world! What’s more is all the great benefits you can receive with the vast majority of positions; including free accommodation (or at least an accommodation allowance), contract completion sign on bonus, paid holidays, medical insurance, discounted school fees for dependents to name but a few. I think it’s also important for me to add, that the more experienced and qualified you are, the better the benefits are, generally speaking. Also schools tend to offer better benefits than language centres, although language centres are a great 1st step for “new” teachers as they have slightly lower requirements to start working there.

So, that brings me to my next point – you can save a heck of a lot of money whilst teaching in China!! Let’s say you are earning 19,000 Rmb per month and you typically save 25% of your salary every month, which I think is a very conservative amount considering your apartment is probably already paid for. Thus, every year, you could be saving ($670 x12months = $8,040) a whopping $8,040 every year! Of course, there are a lot of variables that I haven’t taken into account here, such as the higher cost of living in Shanghai or Beijing, but I think you get the picture. Working in China is an excellent opportunity to save money that almost no country around the world can match.

Dream Logistical Location

I’ve had pleasure or living and working as an ESL teacher in many countries around the world, including China, Thailand, The Philippines and Singapore. A lot of these countries are very popular travel destinations for teachers from China, and the money you earn can there can go quite a long way when travelling! Plus, the travel time from the south eastern part of China is not too bad at all. For example in just over 4hrs you can fly from Beijing to Bangkok or Shanghai to Ho Chi Minh. In just over 3hrs you can fly form Shenzhen to Manila, so compared that with the flight times from the US or Europe to SE Asia, it’s nothing at all!

Furthermore, if you are teaching at a school there, you will receive at least 6 weeks paid holidays per year, less if you work at a language centre. So, giving you plenty of “paid time” to go and explore some of the most popular countries to visit in the world. Last but by no means least, the schools that we work with all provide at least 1 flight (usually to your home country) out of China, so if you are getting homesick or want part of your holiday already paid for, that is taken care of.

Career Development

One of the other rather attractive reasons for working in China as an ESL teacher is the almost unprecedented opportunities you will receive to move up the career ladder. Simply put there are many more opportunities to move up as an ESL coordinator, manager or even director of studies in China, due to the volume of employment and great demand from students compared to almost any other country in the world. Thus, your career can be fast tracked to a senior position much more quickly than working in other countries, then giving you much more scope and ability to command a bigger and better job in another country.

Of course working in China is not for everyone, we are under no illusions about that. There are always pros and cons of working in a new country which you as an individual need to weigh up. You have to take into account the significant cultural difference, in many aspects of daily living, when moving to China. However, with the worst of the pandemic over in most parts of China (with the exception of the north east at the time of writing), relocating to this part of the world for the new school term starting in September has never looked better, particularly with the inevitable opening of the borders to foreigners this summer.


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