Do you remember that feeling of being a kid in a candy shop? You were overwhelmed with excitement over all the sweet treats that awaited you.The anticipation of filling your bag up with sour gummy worms and eating your Skittles all the way home was just almost too much for you to bear…
Well, that is kind of what it feels like to be traveling to China as a new teacher. Between the new culture, the new experiences, and the new and excited children that await you – it can almost feel like you are that little child again walking into the candy shop. As a new teacher, traveling to teach abroad, you have so many exciting things to look forward to. Although your journey will be filled with nerves, of course, the excitement and the joy of your new experiences will quickly overcome the nerves.
The reasons why teaching in China is exciting as a new teacher are almost endless, but here are my top 10:
1) The food is nothing shy of incredible
As a self-proclaimed foodie, of course, food is one of my favorite aspects of traveling anywhere new. You are probably familiar with Chinese food back home, but the true, traditional Chinese food you will find in China is probably not like anything you have ever experienced. From the melt-in-your-mouth roasted duck to the unbelievable vegetable dishes – there is something for everyone’s palate.
2) The students are eager to learn.
In China, learning English is a very prestigious aspect of their schooling. Most of their parents have high hopes that they will be accepted into a university in the United States, and learning English is part of that journey. For the most part, the students you will encounter are entertaining, enthusiastic, and appreciative of your willingness to be there.
3) The culture is fascinating.
One of the best parts about teaching in China is that you become a resident, not just a tourist. Rather than having to see and do it all in one week, you have months – or longer – to explore your new city and country. From the imperial architecture of the historical sites to the breathtaking views of some of the most beautiful scenery you can find in parks and other surrounding areas, you will develop a great sense of appreciation for your new environment.
4) The life in China is fast-paced.
I don’t know about you, but I already feel like time is going incredibly fast…It seems as though I blink my eyes and somehow, I am five years older. But, living in China is more like living life in time-lapse mode… Buildings seem to pop up overnight and new subway lines open up left and right – giving the feeling that the whole city simply shifts in one day. The fast-paced life will leave you in awe of all the change you can experience in the country during even just a short time there.
5) You might even learn some Mandarin along the way.
The good news is that for most positions teaching English in China, being fluent in Mandarin is not required. But, who doesn’t want to add fluency in a second language to their resume, right? While it might seem like an impossible task, you will be surprised with how much easier learning to speak and understand Mandarin will become once you are living in China and are engulfed in the language on a daily basis.
6) You will be well-respected.
The respect doesn’t stop with the students in your classroom. Western teachers are in high demand in China, and, therefore, are well-respected as well. Most Chinese people have a deep-rooted respect for the profession and teachers are seen to be very authoritative figures.
7) You have a variety of diverse locations to choose from.
Due to the size of China, there is no shortage of destinations for teachers looking to work in the country. From Shanghai to Guangdong, and several other areas in between – you can choose the setting you are looking for and the size of the city you would prefer.
8) They offer generous perks and benefits.
Most teachers can find a position that offers great hours, good pay and great benefits. Oftentimes, a yearly salary is provided in addition to great benefits and some perks might include: Sick leave, paid holidays, a generous house concession or rent-free furnished local apartment, and an airfare allowance or even flight reimbursement.
9) The teaching options are endless.
Depending on your salary expectations and your own personal preference, there are several types of teaching opportunities available: Teachers in China can choose from public schools, private schools, private language institutes, a university, international schools, kindergartens, or even tutoring. You can truly make the opportunity everything you want it to be.
10) The cost of living is generally affordable.
Of course, the cost of living will depend mostly on the area you choose to live and work in… Bigger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have a higher cost of living, but they also help compensate with a higher pay. However, teaching salaries are on the rise in China, so most of the time, you will have the ability to save the majority of your wages.