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Seeking Advice (Again!)

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Dec. 28th, 2007 | 11:22 pm
mood: worriedworried
posted by: sanguinetalons in chinese_majors

大家好,

It's me again (the girl who asked about studying abroad and then went this last summer)! Graduate is fast approaching for me (this coming June) and I'm freaking out a bit. I've got this degree in Chinese but I won't be fluent by the time I graduate, and my other work skills include basic office skills, a tiny bit of teaching experience, and people skills. I realized that my best option is probably going to teach English in China, even though I don't see it as a life profession. My reasons for this are: A) a lot of jobs there pay for your housing and living expenses are low, so I could make substantial headway paying off my student loan debt and B) I could become more fluent in Chinese so it might actually be a marketable job skill instead of a tiny embellishment to my resume.

The thing is that I've heard that there are some disreputable schools in China that withhold pay from their workers, treat them badly, make them work overtime and don't pay them, and make them live in really, really sub-par housing. In other words, I've heard horror stories. I've heard good stories, too, but the hard thing is knowing how to distinguish the good places from the bad places and be sure that after I get my visa and plane ticket I won't show up in China to a bad situation.

I figured this might be a good place to ask: do any of you have experience teaching English in China? Have any of your friends taught English in China? If so, I'd like to hear about those experiences and any recommendations. How can one go about making sure the place they teach is fairly reputable? Do you know of any good listings? ...or, alternatively, any other ideas on jobs for me? My hometown is very small and I think there are only a handful of Mandarin speakers in my hometown, and I don't have much money to relocate.

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from: woquinoncoin
date: Dec. 29th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
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Now, I don't know anything about teaching English in China. But in Taiwan, one way to sidestep some of those issues you're talking about is to arrive in the country first and then start looking for a job. It may sound a bit more challenging, but if you are organized and brave and resourceful, you can pull it off, as many have done in the past.

It's recommended that you arrive with a 2-month visitor's visa (multiple-entry, if possible), about two months' worth of cash -- for me, that was about $3000USD -- and crash at a hostel for the time being. You won't need two months to find a job, but you probably shouldn't take more than a month or you're really going to deplete your funds. I started calling companies the day after I arrived in Taiwan, lining up interviews the day after that, and had a job within a week. Not as many companies set you up with accomodations in Taiwan, but many do and almost all of them (all reputable employers anyway) will help you find something. Once you have a job, then you can find a convenient and suitable apartment, but that's where the cash comes in since you'll need to put down a deposit that may be up to 2 months rent, and your paychecks may or may not have started coming in.

There are other details, of course. But I firmly believe that the best way to avoid scams is to be there in person, to check things out with your own eyes and negotiate on the spot. I don't know how easily this is done if you want to teach in China, but it's pretty standard in Taiwan. (Oh, you would also have to change your visitor's visa into an ARC through your employer, and that may or may not necessitate a trip to Hong Kong, but that's part of the fun of it all -- "business travel".)

It's been a while since I've checked it out, but http://www.buxiban.com seemed to be a decent resource last I knew. They have country-specific links you can check out too.

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from: sanguinetalons
date: Jan. 1st, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
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I wish I had the opportunity to do that, as terrifying as it sounds, but I have basically no money to my name (or at least, that's what it'll be when it comes to June and my school loan money runs out). :-/ There's no real way for me to save up $3k when my work doesn't give me money that I can save...bah. Thanks for the advice, though...that site looks really helpful. :)

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