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Foreign Language Experience in China

Foreign Language Experience in China | ITTT | TEFL Blog

So, you have decided to become a foreign teacher and move abroad. Start a new journey and perhaps a new career or just using this experience to see for the world and take a gap year. But have you thought about all the other things that go along with going to another country?

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Communication Challenges


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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jacq-Pierre B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Communication Challenges

Yes, you are there to work and enjoy your time, but there are a lot of extra things that you need to. How are you going to communicate with people? How are you going to get around in your new town? What will everything cost? Will you meet other foreigners in your city? Will you be able to learn the foreign language easily so that you can start communicating with others? The list goes on and on and on.

First thing is to relax and stay calm and take things one step at a time. First, arrive in your new foreign city and meet your fellow teachers. Get unpacked and rest after your long journey. When you have rested, go see what is around your apartment. See what shops and restaurants are near you and easily accessible. Find out what routes you need to take to get to your school. Now that you know the basics of your school and your surroundings, you can think about the next phase.

Also Read: Simple Strategies for Teachers to Increase their Confidence in the Classroom

Communicating with your locals will be a bit difficult at first but many translation apps are free to use to help you with the basics such as where can you find certain products that you might need or where to find the nearest shopping center or how much does the product cost. Alternatively, you can ask your fellow teachers for help. But is better to experience things first-hand. Learn the basics such as the numbers, how much does it cost and what is this. Start to learn to smaller things before moving on to full sentences. One big advice is to learn the phrase “Tim bu dong” which roughly translates to don’t understand. It is a sentence all foreigners should learn.


Everything is relatively cheap in China, but it all depends on what Tier your city categorized. The lower Tier cities are cheaper than your higher Tier cities. But a simple internet search can give you an idea and what you can expect to pay for certain items. It is best to have money available before you journey to China since you will have to wait for your bank account to be opened and to receive your first full salary. It is advisable to have at least 2 months' salary already with you as you will have a lot of expenses. Expenses such as food, cell phone sim card, transportation, etc. These expenses can pile up very quickly if you don’t adapt to the food culture and you just keep on buying fast food as it is simpler, and it is what you know.

Also Read: How long are TEFL contracts?

Do you want to teach English abroad? Take a TEFL course!

Go out and see the city. Find out what entertainment is in the city as this is where you can meet other foreigners and meet new friends. Look at places around you and go and explore. Stay in contact with your family as this is the support you will need. Try and speak as much of the language as you can and learn new words as this will help you to learn the language faster as well as help you adapt. Enjoy your time in your new environment and make the best of what you have. You will get your off days but just keep moving forward. Be happy and experience your new journey and a once in a lifetime adventure.

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