Are you thinking of moving to China but have questions about the life there? Phil Rishton recently moved to Yantai to begin teaching at Yew Wah International Education School. Here are his first thoughts on the school and on China.
Arrival and apartment
My wife and I were collected from the airport by the school driver and taken to the apartment which was to be our new home. The time was very late, therefore we did not expect to meet anybody from the school just yet. The apartment is nice and overlooks the beach! It has two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a dining/living room. It is certainly big enough for me and my wife. When we arrived we found that the school had bought all new utensils, bedding, towels and even enough food for us to use for a whole week. Thankfully the apartment was also equipped with a washing machine. The next day we were collected again by the driver and taken to Yew Wah International Education School of Yantai to look around and meet our new colleagues.
The school is located approximately two kilometres away from our apartment. My wife and I have both bought bikes so travelling to work every day is very easy. I had a three-week induction period before my classes started. This induction period introduced me to the Chinese culture, Yantai the city and policies and procedures of the school. The week before school started was for lesson planning. The school has everything you need to teach, the classrooms are modernised and procedures are in place to allow you to plan effectively.
Want to know about other schools in China? Read a blog written by Co-founder of Teacherhorizons, Alexis Toye.
Colleagues and workforce
The school’s teaching staff is made up of approximately 50% westerners and 50% Chinese. It is a good mix of different nationalities and interests. Everybody is very approachable and helpful in providing useful information for you to have the best start to China. A few teachers will play sport on a Friday after school and there is usually a social event every weekend. I have made some great friends already.
Yantai and the cost of living
Yantai is a lovely city. It has everything you need to live a very normal life whether you choose to embrace Chinese culture or stay with your western comforts. The school is located about 30 – 40 minute drive away from downtown in a very friendly and beautiful district of the city. Downtown has a couple of western shopping malls and a bar street that is worth a visit one in a while. There are also a few landmarks dotted around the city that must be seen. Everything is new and quickly developing; I have only been here four months and two shopping malls have opened a bike ride away from my apartment! Western restaurants and bars are opening up all the time in our district. The school will pay you more than enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle here in China. How much you spend depends on your lifestyle of course, but you will have enough money to buy yourself some nice clothes, eat out a few times a week and have money to send home every month. Local food is ridiculously cheap in the supermarket and restaurants charge exactly what you expect to pay in China. Do expect to pay more for your western comforts…especially cheese!