Hi, welcome Linda here from ITTT. Thanks for joining today. Thanks for taking some time out of your day. I know it's a little bit later than usually, but that's because we have a guest today which I'm gonna announce and introduce in a short while. So thank you guys for being here. Yeah, this is what we're going to talk about today, teaching English in China, what you need to know for the next year. A lot of things have changed because of COVID, because of the pandemic, and all those things. So that's why we invited Dan from Teach English Global, and he's gonna tell us all about it today. So, yeah, thanks for being here, and as always, please don't forget to like and subscribe so you never miss any of our other upcoming live sessions. We go live every week, usually this day, different time. Sometimes it might change when we have guests like this. You want to be here for that. Like and subscribe on YouTube, on Facebook, you're already here, so, yeah, and let's see a little bit about myself first before we add Dan.
If you're watching this for the first time, yeah, my name is Linda. I'm a travel writer and content creator. That's one of the many things that I do. Basically, in my handle is Linda goes east, east because I've always been super interested in Asia ever since I was a teenager. So, I have my own website, lindagoseast.com. I'm originally from Germany and the US. My mom is German, my dad is American, and I've been living in South Korea for the past seven and a half years. But before that, I actually also lived in China. I studied Chinese in China. I always call it my first love, so that's why I'm also very excited about Dan being here and talking about China today. And, yeah, also a TEFL/TESOL marketing professional. That's why I'm here today talking to you guys about ITTT and TEFL, and, yeah, if you're watching for the first time and you don't really know what ITTT is, it stands for international TEFL and tesol training, and the website is teflcourse.net. And we are a leading TEFL/TESOL course provider worldwide. So that's basically it. I know many of you are already TEFL certified, ready to go, ready to hopefully move to China after you see this. Many of you are not yet decided, haven't decided whether or not to go somewhere or maybe you want to teach online, but either way, I think today is going to be very special, and you're going to learn a lot of new things, and I'm also very excited about it.
Yeah, we also, I always mention this, we have a 30% off today as always during our live session. So what you can do, you can either scan this QR code with your phone. If you don't have a phone, no problem, you can use the link, and I'm going to share a link with you in the comments section real quick. It looks like this, it ends with Facebook live minus Linda. And, yeah, this code gets you 30% off of any tefl or tesol course from ITTT, which you might want to get because, as Dan is going to tell us, tefl is actually a requirement to teach in China. But more about that in just a bit. And, yeah, I always also like to start off with asking you guys where you are right now. So, I'm in South Korea and Dan is actually in the UK. It's very, very early, so we're very lucky to have him here this early. And where are you watching from right now? So I see a lot of people here on Facebook and on YouTube. Where are you guys watching from today and what time is it there? Let us know, we're very curious. And then, yep, I think now this is the intro, everything has been said that needs to be said, uh, so we can invite Dan.
Introduction: Dan Wharton from Teach English Global
“Hey, Linda, thanks for having me.”
“How are you?”
“Yeah, not too bad, thank you. How are you doing?”
“Good, yeah, pretty good, pretty good. It's like it's 4 PM now in Korea. What time is it where you are?”
“It's just gone 8 AM, so I apologize if I look a little bit tired.”
“Nah, that's great, that's great. Thanks for getting up so early.”
“That's all good. No, happy to be here.”
“Yeah, cool. So, I'm in Korea, you're in the UK, and we have John here who's watching from Barbados. Cool, awesome. Oh, it's 3 AM. Oh my God, even earlier. Wow. Isn't it?”
“He stayed up late to watch.”
“Yeah, we appreciate that.”
“All right, cool, then, yeah. Without further ado, let me just turn this on, and then Dan, you can take it from here.”
Sure, thank you, Linda. So, as Linda mentioned, I'm here today to discuss teaching English in China. There's been quite a lot that has changed with teaching in China over the last couple of years, one obvious reason being because of covid and the pandemic but there's been several other things that have changed within China, and that not a lot of teachers are really too aware about. For some teachers, it's having a bit of a negative, kind of impact on their decision whether to go to China or not and, yeah, basically, today, I just want to kind of go through everything to do with teaching in China, answer any questions, and hopefully give teachers I guess a bit more of an insight as to what the market looks like, what their life would be like if they went and started in China.
COVID & China
Definitely, yeah, a lot of things have changed, right? I mean, not only China, and many countries, but I think China is one of the ones that had the biggest changes since covid, or even, yeah, for sure. Like, to start with, in 2020, it seemed they handled COVID the best. They didn't really have many lockdowns. Schools were open and stuff and then, as the rest of the world has kind of come out of covid, they're still lingering a little bit in it. They're having small lockdowns every now and then. This is impacting some schools.
So, yeah, it's the teaching market there. I'd say it's definitely been different to everywhere else worldwide when it comes to TEFL for sure. Definitely great. Alright, cool. Then you prepared some slides? Let me get that up for you. Alright. And then, yeah, I'll just give everyone a quick introduction. So, I'm Dan, as Linda's mentioned. I'm from the UK and a city called Manchester. I myself used to live in Shanghai, in China. I taught as an English teacher there in a training center, which is a school type we're going to discuss later on. Before I went to China, my background and career was working within recruitment, in different industries. So I've kind of always done this job, but just never within teaching. When I was in Shanghai, and I'd say more specifically when I was first looking for a position in Shanghai, I just noticed how there wasn't really any Western recruiters working within this kind of space, especially those who'd actually been there and taught themselves. So the interview process for me when I was trying to get a job in China was just a little bit complicated. I was speaking to loads of different Chinese agencies. I must have had about seven or eight different interviews, which just didn't quite feel right, felt a little bit different to what we're used to in the Western World when it comes to doing interviews, recruitment stuff like that. But yeah, anyway, I ended up finding a relatively decent Training Center, went to Shanghai, and had quite a few friends who had ended up in these not great schools, and not having the best experience. So it kind of gave me the motivation to start Teaching English Global, which is a teacher recruitment company specializing in helping teachers from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, which are the seven native speaking countries, helping teachers from those countries find positions in China, that much any preferences that they've got, essentially. And I also work with schools in South Korea. That is a slightly newer side to the business but my specialty is certainly China. I've been taught there myself, and I'd say about 80% of the schools that I work with are in China. I work with all different types of schools, so I have international schools. Typically, they look for officially licensed teachers. So that school type is probably not going to be too relevant to what we're discussing today.
But I also work with Public Schools, kindergartens, language schools, which are no longer training centers in China, and universities, and teacher agencies, so quite a wide variety. In all different locations, all of the big tier one cities that people will be familiar with like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and, and more sort of say two to three cities that perhaps the average Westerner hasn't heard of before. How we differ from recruitment agencies as well, I did just want to to kind of go through this. I think I've touched on it a little bit in this intro, but there's really not too many recruitment agents helping teachers go to China who've actually taught in China themselves, who've actually been through the Visa process, been on the ground as a teacher, know how the schools work, and so I do feel that kind of sets us apart from other agencies and from experience, I've found that's been quite a nice way for me to kind of get on the same level as the teachers I'm speaking to, because I've I've been in their shoes, and I know what it is they're looking for when they they kind of describe the situation they're in and where preferences are in China. Awesome, yeah, I think that's a really good point.
I taught English in China, and I also taught English in Korea, obviously, and I think, yeah, most of the recruiters are definitely locals with their Chinese or they're Korean, and they aren't English teachers. They don't know what it's like or they don't have to do the whole Visa process, so it's definitely great to have someone like you there who has done it themselves. So, that's right, yeah, for sure. And one one thing to add as well with a lot of the local agencies that are Chinese or Korean, obviously, there's a massive, massive cultural difference in China from the US or the UK, so how they would typically go about doing a recruitment phone call or an interview might seem a little bit strange to some people in the UK or the US. So again, I think being from that same kind of culture as a lot of the teachers, it helps me work well as a bit of a middleman really between the Chinese schools and the Western teachers. Yeah, you can teach some Intercultural competencies.
The types of schools when teaching in China
Let's talk a little bit about the types of schools. You already mentioned that a little bit, the types of schools most teachers will work at in China and also the requirements for those schools if they're different, depending on the school type, all those things. Let's have a look. Yeah, so, there's typically five main types of schools in China if you want to break it down. International schools, which are essentially the private schools that people will pay to send their children to. Usually in international schools, you'll find the students, for international, hence the name, so the students will come from all kinds of countries throughout the world really, whose parents might have moved to China for their own work. These types of schools are without doubt the best when it comes to facilities, pay, benefits, holidays, but the standard of teaching that's required is also as good as it gets really. So, I'd say about 80 to 90 percent of international schools across China, they look for teachers who have already got an official teaching license, such as an American teaching license, a PGCE, QTS, quite a few international schools will take teachers on who have got maybe three years experience in a public school or a kindergarten or a training center, but who are looking to study online for their PGCE or something at the same time. I'm going to discuss that in more detail, at the end of this webinar for anyone who might be looking to go down that route. So that leaves four of the types of schools: public schools, kindergartens, training centers, and universities, and these are the four types of schools that teachers who do a TEFL certificate typically end up going into when they first go to China.
I'd say by far the most popular for a first-time TEFL teacher is a training center. Training Center is basically another name for a language school. So, in a training center, you would teach English to students who are coming after their public school, so late afternoon, early evening, and also on the weekends. Public schools in kindergartens, you do get quite a lot of TEFL teachers working within this environment, but what I've noticed from experience is that a lot of first-time teachers who've never been to China, they'll maybe go and teach their training center for their first year, maybe their first two years, and then if they want to try a different environment, maybe a different age group, different curriculums, whatever it may be, they then go and try a kindergarten or a public school after that. Public Schools can be quite an intimidating setting for a first-time teacher, especially in China. The class size can be up to 50 students. In kindergartens, it's usually up to about 30 students, so still quite a lot.
Training centers is typically about 10 to 15 students in a class, so again, this is why quite a lot of new teachers like that environment, because if you've never really taught before, or maybe you've only taught for a year or so, it's a lot easier to kind of integrate into that environment, build your confidence. Kind of learn as you go when you've only got 10 students in front of you rather than 50. Yeah, definitely, and then universities, I'll just quickly touch on. I'd say this is probably the least popular or least common school type that a lot of teachers end up at, simply because there's just not as many vacancies and opportunities. Most university positions usually have quite low hours, so that you might have 15 teaching hours a week, and then that's it, no office hours or anything like that, and as a result, the salary and benefits are probably the lowest out of the five school types. So, no, I was gonna say that sounds great, yeah, yeah, I mean it's quite appealing for if for a lot of people if you want to maybe study alongside teaching, or you just want a lot of free time then it can be quite a good fit, but most teachers are going to China, they want to save a little bit of money because as we'll discuss in the next slide, the salary in China is is one of the big advantages it has over teaching English in other countries.
So, yeah, at universities, you wouldn't really save much money to be fair, you don't enough to kind of live on and get by. The requirements, so as I've mentioned, international schools typically require an official teaching license, and for public schools, kindergartens, training centers, and universities, you need to have a bachelor's degree, you need to have a TEFL certificate, and you need to have a clean criminal record because you'll need to provide a criminal record check, such as an FBI check if you're in the US and a DBS check if you're in the UK, or whatever your country's equivalent is. Cool, interesting. Yeah, and also one thing I just remembered because I worked at a training center in China, the work hours are also very different from a training center compared to a public school. Because I remember I worked, I think I worked Saturday and Sunday and had Monday and Tuesday off, and I also worked late, I think from 1 pm to 8 pm. Yeah, I should have mentioned it actually, it slipped my mind. So, the one thing that's kind of seen as a downside really of training centers is the schedule.
Typical teaching hours in China
All of the school types will be Monday to Friday, typically 8 till 4:30 or 8:30 till 4:30, something like that. Whereas in training centers, because you're teaching students who are coming after their public school, and basically outside of normal school hours, you'll usually do afternoons or evens on the weekends. So, a typical schedule is exactly what you just mentioned, Linda. You would work 9-3 and 6 on Saturday and Sunday and then you would have two consecutive days off that could be Monday and Tuesday, or Wednesday and Thursday. And the free weekdays, you would usually start early afternoon, maybe about 1 or 2 pm, have a couple of hours to do any lesson prep or lesson planning, and then you would start teaching usually around 4 pm. Yeah, the schedule's a little bit different. For some teachers, this can be a bit of a red flag. They think, "Oh, I don't want to work weekends." But one thing I always tell teachers who are going out to China for the first time, the majority of your friends in China, if you're going to work at a training center, will be other teachers who are either working in the same school or the same company, or typically working at other training centers, since this is the most popular school type. So, a lot of your friends are going to be on similar schedules and are also going to be working Saturday and Sundays, so your weekend will just be your two days off.
Yeah, all your friends will have those kind of days off as well. There's still obviously, in the especially in the tier one cities in China, there's always things going on. Even on Mondays and Tuesdays, the nightlife doesn't really quiet down in the big cities. So, yeah, yeah, you don't really miss out on much. And what I remember, I actually, I I think I had the same thought in the beginning, 'Oh, it kind of sucks', but then it was actually great because you could do stuff on Monday and Tuesday, like going to the bank or like the post office, all those places who normally are closed on the weekends, so it's actually pretty good. Yeah, I agree, because I started a training center and I found Monday to Friday just used to fly by. Even the days you're working, like you'd probably only teach maybe two or three hours on the days you're actually in, so that week will go really, really quick. On the downside though, the weekends were usually pretty busy. You'd maybe be teaching five or six hours on both Saturday and Sunday, which when it gets to Sunday night and you finished work, you do feel pretty exhausted. Yeah, especially if you're a public school teacher and you have 50 kids, that's crazy. Yeah, I didn't know that. Yeah, wow, cool. Um, what about some things changed now since the pandemic and everything, or just in recent years, new regulations? There's been a couple of changes. Um, one quite important one I wanted to touch on was to do with training centers actually. So, um, last July, about 15 months ago now, the Chinese government introduced some new education regulations. I think a lot of people would be familiar with this because of the online English sector, which was quite heavily hit. Yeah, oh, did you? Yeah, pretty big news for everybody. Everyone was like shocked. Yeah, yeah, so I mean a lot of companies, um, they just basically closed overnight, and hundreds, thousands of teachers, um, who were teaching online from from back home basically lost their jobs. Um, the online sector was was definitely the one that was hit the heaviest, but it did have an impact on training centers.
China’s 2021 Private Tutoring Ban
So, just to give it a very, very quick overview on what these regulations were: the Chinese government basically didn't want any after-school programs teaching the state-run curriculum. And so this wasn't just English, it could have been maths, science, geography, whatever it was, because obviously in China it's quite competitive in the schooling system. A lot of parents were sending their children to go to after school to basically learn what they've already learned that day in the public school. So, the new training centers had curriculums that were similar to the same as, or maybe linked to, the state-run English curriculum. So, a lot of these training centers either closed down or had to change their curriculum or make some adjustments to their schedule and a few other things.
So, as a rough estimate, I'd say probably maybe about 30% of training centers closed down or significantly reduced the amount of students they had. And whenever I'm speaking to a lot of teachers who want to go and teach in a training center, this is a concern that they sometimes raise with me: 'Is this going to come up again? Will schools close down again?' Typically, like I can say, any school that's open now, any training center, there's a very, very strong likelihood that they're going to be staying open in the future because since it's been 15 months since these regulations were introduced, a lot of these training centers have had to make these changes if they needed to, and they've had to apply for a new school license or a new business license.
And even the schools that didn't have to make much change have had to apply for a new school license, which has now been issued. So, the government obviously thinks these schools are meeting the regulations and requirements. So, yeah, I don't really anticipate there being lots of training centers closing again within the next couple of years. But yeah, they were hit quite hard over the last 15 months or so with these regulations.
Yeah, well, then, well that's good news then, that's great. Yeah, for sure. Watching, oh, that's why we're here. So, yeah, if you have any questions, anything on your mind related to China, teaching in China, Dan is here to answer your questions today.
Typical Salary & Benefits for teaching English in China
So, feel free to ask. All right, good then. Um, let's talk about money. I think everyone wants to know how much can you actually make teaching English in China. Yeah, that's one of the main questions I get whenever I speak to teachers about the salary and benefits are going to be. I'll just very quickly start by saying China is certainly number one, or within the top two to three countries when it comes to teacher salary for ESL/TEFL teachers in Asia. That I'd say the second country is probably South Korea, but salary in China is, in a lot of schools, nearly double what's getting paid in Korea now. It's yeah, it's very lucrative place to go and teach. Teachers can save a lot of money when they go to China. And it is one of the main kind of draws of going to the country. And to be completely honest, it was one of the reasons I went to China. I knew I could earn quite a lot of money there. I knew I could save money and send it home. And I was trying to pick between different places to go, and yeah, that ultimately made my decision.
So, um, I'll just break down what the typical salary and benefits are, and this will vary slightly from school to school. Um, and the salary and benefits here aren't for international schools, because I'm, I don't want to touch too much on international schools today since this is a TEFL kind of chat. So, for public schools, kindergartens, and training centers, the average monthly salary will be between 17,000 and 24,000 yuan per month, which on average is about 2,700 British pounds per month, or around 3,000 US dollars per month. And like I say, it varies slightly between different schools. Um, and one thing that does impact it is also the location, which I'm going to touch on in the next slide. On top of the salary, a lot of schools will offer either a housing allowance or they'll already have an apartment that teachers can use when they move there. There'll be a contract completion bonus, which usually is around 10,000 RMB to one month's salary. This completely varies between schools. There'll be flight reimbursement. This will either be paid to the teacher when they first arrive in China, or at the end of the contract, and/or there are some schools who will actually just pay for the flights themselves to bring a teacher over to China. Again, it varies school to school.
Each school will maybe not offer as good a flight reimbursement, but their contract completion bonus will be better, and like it usually all balances out as being quite similar packages between the same school type. For a training center, the holiday is usually 10 to 15 days, plus you get national holidays. Those 10 to 15 days you can take any time throughout the year. The schools do prefer if you take it during winter and summer times when they're not doing their typical semester, but yeah, if you want to take that throughout the year for whatever reason, you can. For public schools and kindergartens, it's a little bit different. Public schools obviously have periods of time off over summer and winter. So, what a lot of public schools will do is offer this entire holiday time off, but your salary will be reduced.
So, for example, you might get six weeks off over July and August, but you would get maybe 10,000 RMB per month rather than 20 or something like that at kindergartens. They will either do something similar or they will run like summer camps and summer courses where the teachers will still work have their normal salary and everything. Um, and then usually they would get the same holiday days as a training center. [Music]
Um, obviously at the minute in China there is quarantine. It's 10 days at the time of speaking. Um, I don't work with a single school that doesn't cover the cost for this. Um, they'll reimburse this this uh period in a hotel. Um, is that 10 days everywhere in in all the cities or does it vary from City because I've heard so different things. It's pretty much 10 days everywhere. So um, you'll either spend 10 days straight in one hotel and then be released or you'll do seven days in one hotel and then be moved to another hotel for three days.
Um, that just seems to be completely random how they're doing that. I guess I don't know if it depends on how busy each hotel is or what. Yeah, whatever, 10 days in total. Um, there's like regular copings Kobe testing when you're in the quarantine. Um, but yeah, once that's done you're you're free and you can you can either travel to the city you're gonna be teaching in or you know whatever it is you're going to China to do. Um, health insurance is covered for by literally every school. It's a legal requirement in China to to provide at least some kind of Baseline health insurance.
A lot of schools do go above and beyond that though and have their own policies where they'll come other teachers for for quite a bit more. Um, the Visa is covered. These are costs such as getting your documents authenticated which we're going to discuss in a later slide and this varies again from school to school. Some schools will reimburse all of this. Some schools will just pay for the work permit and these are on on their end. Um, and the teacher is required to pay for the document authentication. And with a lot of schools there is training and career development opportunities. So if you're someone who's looking to go to China and potentially start a long-term career within teaching in the country maybe you want to look at going into curriculum development, um getting promoted to be a senior teacher or a head teacher. A lot of schools do offer these opportunities.
Um, I would say kindergartens and training centers probably more than public schools. Um, if you work hard and yeah do your best when you're there, there's a very good chance you'll get promoted and and whenever an opportunity comes they'll promote someone who's internal and already working for the schools. Awesome, yeah. I think the the benefits are definitely really the biggest selling point for China. I think is the salary is quite high and then you have all of these benefits. Um, so you can really save a lot from your monthly salary. Yeah, I mean on average, as like a rule of thumb, I always tell teachers that you easily should be able to save half your salary.
So if you're on 20,000 RMB per month you should easily be able to send home 10,000 RMB per month. And obviously it depends on what lifestyle you've got. If you live like a king or queen and you're out every night of the week eating and partying and traveling then maybe not so but yeah, a lot of teachers I'd say constantly save half of what they're earning. It's awesome. 10,000 is how many dollars at the moment. So oh, that would be about I want to say about 50 or 1600. Let me just check. Wow, you see that's a lot of money. 1400, I think the exchange has gone down a little bit. Yeah, about 1400 as a month and it's about 1500 pounds a month. So it's a good amount to be saving and sending home.
Absolutely great for paying off student loans or any kind of debt you have back home just to save. I mean I I met a lot of teachers who were just going to China to save a deposit for a house. Yeah, we're gonna go for two or three years, send home as much as they could, and then return to their home country not only with some really good teaching experience that they could use back home, but with the money to buy a house and potentially sell that when they return. Yeah, that's awesome.
Okay, cool. We have a question here and I don't I'm not sure if we can answer that, but let's try. Uh, from I'm probably pronouncing that wrong, so sorry. She's asking or he's asking what is the most difficult sound in China, and I meant the local people are having difficulties in pronouncing English. So yeah, I understand the question and she also taught in China. What word or sound do you think a lot of students struggled with? You like the th sound. I think a lot of times, yeah, it doesn't really exist in a lot of languages, like Chinese. But yeah, I'd agree with that. Yeah, I I think it varies a lot from from student to student as well. Like, I had students in China who, there would just be a random word or a random sound that they just really, really struggled with for some reason but it wasn't like a common sound that a lot of students did. So I think it does vary, but yeah, th I would say is quite common. Grammar because well 10 Sim, like when you talk about the past in these past tense verbs, something like that, maybe. Yes, that's a very good point. To be fair, the tenses with verbs. A lot of students would get a little bit confused with and they'd use the wrong tense. Right, yeah. Asking how to apply for a tesol job in China, and I think we're going to talk about that anyway very soon. Right, the steps to apply, so that will be covered. Stay tuned. Okay, awesome. So that's that, and then yeah, you already touched on that the salary kind of depends on the city you're teaching in. So let's have a look at the different cities.
The different cities to teach English in China
Yes, so in China, again speaking from experience, the four most popular cities that teachers want to go to are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. These are four of the big tier one cities that the average person around the world has heard of. Other cities, such as Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Ching Dao, might not necessarily be as well known. These cities are popular for a reason, one of which is that the salary is typically higher in these cities. However, the cost of living is also typically a little bit higher in these cities, so it typically balances out. For example, if you were to teach in Beijing, you would earn more money, but your cost of living would be higher, so you would probably come out with about the same amount each month as if you were to teach in a smaller city like Hangzhou, where the salary would be lower but the cost of living would be substantially lower compared to Beijing. Another reason why these four cities are quite popular is because they have big expat communities and there are a lot of teachers who work and live in these four cities. It's very important to have a good social group and make friends when you go to China, because it can be a bit of a lonely place if you don't know anyone or don't have any friends due to the cultural differences. These big four cities, like Beijing, have a lot of Western people and teachers, so you can go out any night of the week and find people to chat with. The main living cost that makes these cities more expensive is housing or apartments. The rent for an apartment in a place like Beijing would be at least double that of somewhere like Hangzhou. So that's how the costs of these cities can rack up a bit.
Um, trying to think if there's anything else that makes them different. Yeah, I guess a lot of the popular cities, because the four cities I've mentioned today have four of the biggest populations in China, which means there are obviously a lot more Chinese people there who are sending their children to learn English.
So for a lot of the big schools, big training centers, kindergartens, international schools, it probably makes sense for them to be positioned in a city like Beijing because there are more potential students that will come to the school. Whereas, if a really big Training Center opens up in a really rural part of China, they're going to struggle to attract students. So there is also just more opportunity in these cities.
There are more vacancies, and there are more schools looking for roles, which I think in part probably ends up attracting more teachers as well. Hmmm, yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, for sure. Maybe something I would add just from my own experience, the first city in China I lived in was Guangzhou and I absolutely loved it. It was great, lots of foreigners there definitely, and then the second city I lived in was Changsha in Hunan Province and not a lot of people know the city, but I also found friends there. You know, so I think, yeah, you can make friends anywhere. And also, you can make Chinese friends, local friends, and I found that a lot of Chinese people are so interested in making friends with foreigners.
I think it was actually a lot easier to make friends with locals in China than it is in Korea. It's very interesting. Yeah, so that's one point. Yeah, I love the local people I met in China. They are super super friendly and like they really do want to kind of make the effort, like you said. Yeah, potentially make friends.
One kind of obstacle is just a language barrier at times, which can limit how good a friendship you can get with someone. That's why I mentioned meeting Western people. It is good for teachers when they first get there just so they've got some friends before they learn to speak a bit of Chinese and integrate more with the locals. Yeah, yeah, I agree totally. And even if that's not one of those major cities, I've found at least when I was living there that traveling within China is super easy.
You can hop on a bullet train or they have a lot of overnight buses, and even domestic flights. I lived in China for a total of a year and a half, and I've been to almost all of those cities there, so you can really travel a lot even with the salary because you can save so much money. That's how I invested my money into traveling in China. But, yeah, yeah, I agree, domestically it's really cheap.
Yeah, I've got a few teachers at the minute who are flying from Shenzhen up to Beijing and they're paying like 80 US dollars for an internal flight, which is probably a lot cheaper than a lot of train tickets back in the UK, certainly. Yeah, it's really great. Cool. Okay, let's have a look maybe here at a question.
The Difference between TEFL & TESOL
Mrs. Abuela is asking what's the difference between TEFL, TESOL, and which one is better or best to teach in China. Okay, um, Alonso I think some in the comments has answered that quite well also. Yeah, there's really not, yeah, there's not too much difference. It's almost just a different name. TEFL, TESOL, um, ESL, like this industry then has different names. But, yeah, honestly, there's not too much difference. If you've got a TESOL certificate, that's worth just as much as a TEFL certificate. Right? It usually depends on where you're from and what term is more used there. So I think in the US and North America they use TESOL more, whereas in Europe and I think in Australia they use the term TEFL more. That's kind of the only difference. And with ITT, actually, you can choose if your certificate says TEFL or TESOL on it. You can choose that, but it's just a personal preference. But you have the option and it's the same. Yeah, it's interchangeably used, but good question. Yeah, yeah, all right, awesome. Yeah, so now I think this is what a lot of people have been asking about.
How to find a teaching Job in China
Now we're getting really into the details of what's the best way to find a teaching job in China. Let's have a look. How do you go about it? So there are a few different ways to find a teaching job. Four ways involve kind of doing it yourself and doing your own research and putting yourself out there. And the fourth way, which I'll cover a little bit more in detail, is using a recruiter such as myself and Teach English Global. Three common ways if you want to find a job yourself are number one, using job boards where ESL jobs are advertised. One of the common ones is ESL Cafe, and a lot of schools and also a lot of recruiters post adverts on these job boards and you can respond to them and send your CV. Another option is to apply directly to schools. This will involve a little research. Maybe, for example, you really really want to go to Shanghai. Maybe you'll do a bit of research and get a list of training centers in Shanghai or kindergartens in Shanghai, depending on what school type you want to go to. And then you can contact these schools directly or apply directly on their website. This is quite a good way of, I guess, putting yourself out there. However, a lot of schools might not be recruiting, so it can be a lot of time spent when you might not get too many responses or actually get many opportunities from it. The third way is referral or through a friend. When I was living in China, I know a lot of people who got their jobs because their friend used to work for that school or their friend knew someone who used to work for that school and recommended them.
If you want to find a job yourself, there are three main methods: using job boards, applying directly to schools, and referrals through friends. The other method is using a recruiter such as myself. There are a few benefits to using a recruiter. First of all, it's going to save you a lot of time. If you apply directly to schools, you might do 30 applications and get two or three responses, whereas if you go through a recruiter who has vacancies and knows which schools are looking, every school that they put you forward to has a very good chance of getting an interview or something coming of it because the school actually needs a teacher. Another pro of using a recruiter, especially when it comes to teaching in China, is that you can get advice for free. A recruiter who has been there and done it and knows China well can answer your questions on salary, different cities, the Visa process, and the time frame. Using a recruiter also means you'll get help with interviews, contracts, and visas. If you go it alone and find a position on a job board, you'll be going into the interview blind and not knowing what questions will come up or what format the interview will take. But if you go through a recruiter, they will give you a call before the interview and tell you what types of questions are likely to come up and what the school is looking for in a candidate. A recruiter can also read through your contract and spot any red flags, and if you have any questions about it, they can help you understand it. The recruiter can also help you with the Visa process.
I think we're going to touch on this in a slide or two. A lot of recruiters, certainly the things that I like to do, are help teachers with the entire Visa process. Getting a Visa in China, as you'll see shortly, isn't the most straightforward thing to do. If you go it alone, then a lot of the time you'll have to kind of figure this out yourself and it can get a little bit messy and a little bit expensive when you're doing that. So having a recruiter who can kind of guide you is certainly very helpful. One last thing I do just want to add, because I speak to a lot of teachers who don't really understand how a recruiter works. They think maybe a recruiter takes a cut of their salary or charges them a fee for the service. That's wrong. It's completely free. Any recruiter who's trying to charge you money, I would not go with. Like recruitment should be completely free for the teacher. So yeah, all of this stuff, saving time, the advice, the help of everything, it's all free of charge. So yeah, I would always recommend using a recruiter. I certainly wish I did when I first went to Shanghai. The fact I didn't is kind of the motivation for me to start teaching this global and help teachers. Actually, speak to a recruiter who, as I said at the start of this webinar, has been there themselves, and taught, knows the country well, can answer any questions, and just generally wants to help. Awesome. Yeah, for sure. Why wouldn't you take this, all of these amazing things, the advice, and everything, if it's free? I mean, yeah, definitely. Awesome. We have a couple of questions. Yeah, how do you apply? Where do you apply? What link etc.? So I'm going to share the link with you because obviously ITT and teach English Global are partners, so that's basically how you can apply. Let's see, this is the website and you basically just go on the website. There's an application form and you fill out the application and then you're going to be Dan is going to get in touch with you. Right, correct. Yeah, awesome. Yeah, so this is the link. Oh, and there is a question also from Sam for you, Mr. Dan. Do you recruit only for China or other countries as well? Uh, so I also recruit for South Korea. I would say about 80% or so of my schools are in China, though. Uh, but yeah, to answer your question, I do recruit for South Korea. I do have plans over the next few years to be operating in a few other countries as well. Uh, but yeah, that's that's not yet been confirmed. So we'll see how that goes. Okay, you heard it here first. Thank you. Awesome. Cool. Asian countries or can you share that?
Looking more at the Middle East, um, potentially a great region, too, yeah. Yeah, for teaching. Awesome. Okay, cool. All right. Uh, yeah, then we're going to talk about the time frame, how, how long is everything going to take? Uh, because you mentioned the Visa process is rather complicated compared to other countries.
Time Frame for Teaching English in China
So, how, what's the time frame from applying, looking for jobs, to actually landing in China and starting to teach? Yeah, so this is quite a common question I get when I speak to a teacher for the first time. They want to know how long it's going to be until they're actually stood in front of a class of students teaching English. A lot of teachers, they want to be gone within a week, like they they want things to go really, really quick. So I do always have to kind of break down how things work, um, and give them a realistic time frame because it's going to help the teacher plan the last few months they've got in their home country. You know, if they've got any any events they need to be around for, um, maybe they've got a job back home and they want to need to have noticed that a certain date, um, so yeah, the time frame, which I'll break down now, um, in total, from the day you actually apply on teach English Global, um, until the day you're stood teaching, um, is usually anywhere between three months and five months. And there's a few different variable factors which I'll go through. So, um, to start with, when you do your initial application, um, I would get in touch with you, have a phone call to kind of just introduce myself and find out what you're looking for as a teacher, what preferences you have, how much experience you've got, um, and just see which kind of school would be a good fit. Um, I would then get your application sent over to some schools, we would get interviews arranged. Those interviews would hopefully go well, and we would get some offers. Um, and then we would decide which is the best offer and you would accept an offer. That usually takes two to three weeks. Um, some teachers it can, yeah, maybe even less than two weeks. They might apply, they want a trading center in Beijing, and I have one school that comes to mind, and everything just goes really quick. For teachers who are maybe a bit more open-minded, it's probably nice to have a few different opportunities, so it takes longer to to do multiple interviews. Once an offer has been accepted, then we start the Visa process. Um, I'm going to cover the Visa process in a lot more detail on, I think, the next slide, but just to give a very quick overview of how long that would take.
The visa process for teaching English in China
So there's three sections in the Visa process. The first one involves getting your documents authenticated, your bachelor's degree, your TEFL or TESOL, your career record check. This can take anywhere from one to six weeks. I've had teachers before who they've already done a document authentication to be super prepared before applying for jobs. Some teachers are completely at the beginning, it takes a little bit longer, and on average, it is usually three to four weeks. I know over the last couple of months, South African teachers, it's been taken up to two or three months, to get their documents authenticated, which is just worth adding that, so if you're if you're South African and you're watching, it might take you a little bit longer to get through this process.
Once the documents have been authenticated, you would send everything to your school. They would apply for your work permit, which on average takes about four weeks. During this time, there's nothing you need to do as a teacher. You're literally just sitting and waiting for this work permit to come back. And then, once that work permit does come back, you would do your visa application and so you would go to your nearest Chinese Embassy. Put your application in for your Z visa and it would take around two weeks before you've got your passport in your hand with your Visa in it. Normally I start looking for flights with teachers once they get the work permit back, and then once the application the visa application is has gone okay we booked the flight, usually for around one week after the Visa has been returned. So, then you would fly to China. At the minute, as we've mentioned, there's 10 days quarantine. So you'd spend 10 days in quarantine and then you would probably have around 10 days to two weeks just getting settled after your quarantine, finding your apartment, getting used to the local area, opening your bank account, and registering at the police station, going in and actually meeting your your future co-workers, and everything like that. And then sometime about you with that start and just probably start training for the first week or two and during that time you'd gradually start teaching as well. Yeah, awesome, yeah. So it's not as fast as many people think, it's like oh I got the job, I'm gonna buy the plane ticket and I'm there tomorrow. It doesn't work, yeah. It takes it takes a little bit of time. You do need to be patient. It can at times be a little bit frustrating. One thing I do just want to add though is that the the time frame and the the whole process now is a lot smoother than it was about six months ago because there was a stage in this process something called a pu letter that some teachers might have heard of, which came after the work permit that the school had to apply for. And yeah, that was just a little bit complicated.
It was brought in by the Chinese government because of COVID that has now been completely eradicated. So yeah, there's a few letter is no longer needed, so everything is although it takes time, everything does go as planned, like eventually you will get to China. There's not really any two should we say two bigger obstacle in the way that could stop teachers getting out there. Awesome, cool. We have a couple of questions, have a look. Can we be Dan? You can you can sorry this one. So our Indian Tutors or teachers accepted for a job in China? Unfortunately not. So it really is a shame. I get a lot of non-native speakers playing via my website who are from places like India, who they have good teaching experience and they probably would be a very good teacher in China. And unfortunately, the Chinese government has made it a requirement for the Visa that teachers hold one of seven passports which are the late speaking. So that is Canadian, the United States, Island, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. If you don't hold one of those seven passports, it's going to be very, very, very complicated and difficult for you to get a teaching job in China. And Korea has a similar kind of policy as well. And I think if you're from India and you're looking for a tesol job teaching job abroad, I think you'd probably be better looking at countries in Europe, maybe Eastern Europe, countries in South America where the the requirements on your nationality aren't strict at all really. I also believe in Japan they don't have a restriction on, yeah, I think, yeah. So if you're really set on East Asia, Japan also might be. And also the the Korean epic program, they actually have this one exception that if you, for only for Indians, which is really interesting. If you are Indian, you fulfill all the other requirements, and you have an Indian teaching license, then you also qualify for the Epic program. Yeah, very interesting, yeah. It's interesting to know, I didn't know that, yeah. Cool. And I think this also answers Sam, yeah Sam's question too, yeah, same, yeah. I think, yeah, it's so unfortunate. I think it's very, in 2022, this shouldn't be the thing that only seven countries are considered native speakers. It's kind of, yeah, it is very frustrating. Moving forward with that. Yes, it is. So, typically, again, they see the rules set by the Chinese government on the Visa, so this isn't something the schools just decide. This isn't something I had anything to do with. Usually you need to be under the age of 45 if you want to teach English in China in order to qualify for the Visa. So if you're over the age of 45, this is to teach in a public school, kindergarten or training center with a with a legalz Visa. If you're over 45, it's going to be very, very difficult. It's going to be just as complicated as if you were a non-native speaker or deemed a non-native speaker. And for international schools, I just want to add, the nationality and the age doesn't really apply as much for international schools. A lot of international schools, if you're a licensed teacher from your own country, depending what level your English is at, then exceptions can sometimes be made. And this also goes with age as well at International Schools. But yeah, if you've done a TEFL certificate and you you just want to go over and teach English, if you're over 45, then it's going to be a little bit complicated to find a school.
The Z Visa for Teaching English in China
Then walk us through the Visa process a little bit. So the only Visa that English teachers can get is the Z Visa, right? Yes, it is the Z Visa. I probably should have put that on this slide, but yeah, it's the Z Visa. There's three steps to it which I briefly touched on in the last slide, but I'll go over in more detail. So, to start with, once you've accepted a job, there's free documents that you need to get authenticated. Bachelor's degree, TEFL certificate, or tesol or Celta, whatever variation is fine. Like they're all accepted, and you need to get a criminal record check done. So if you're in the UK, this would be a DBS check. If you're in the US, it would be an FBI check, or you can get a state-level background check. The criminal record check needs to have been done within the last six months from when the work permit is applied. So if you've got an FBI check from two years ago, that's not going to work. You're going to need to get a new one done. Once you've got these free documents, these free certificates ready, you need to get them authenticated for which there's three steps. And so the first step is you need to get the documents notarized by a notary public or a lawyer. This is basically where someone who's licensed to do so will look at the documents and basically confirm that they're they're real, they're not fake. Once these documents have been notarized, they need to be apostled, or have an apostle attached to them. This is usually done at the government level in your country.
In the US, you would send your documents to the US government. They would attach the Apostle to the documents and then the third step is you need to get the Chinese Embassy in your country to stamp and authorize the documents themselves. You can either post the documents to the nearest consulate, or if you make an appointment, they'll basically look through them and add a big rectangular sticker to the back with a stamp. That's just their way of legalizing and checking they're all good. Once you've got these three documents with all those stages done, that's everything done on your part. You would then send your documents to your school in China. If your school is in Beijing, you would post the documents, but for most of the cities, you can just send over scans. They would then apply for your work permit. The reason they require the documents to physically be there is because the rules for Beijing are slightly different. Another way in which they're different is that for Beijing you would need to get a medical check done before leaving your home country, whereas for most other cities you get the medical check done once you arrive in China. The medical check is pretty simple to do. You would just contact your local hospital, medical center, or clinic. A lot of places can do them. You have a one big sheet of paper that you would take, they would test you for a lot of different things, and then put the hospital stamp and signature on it. The medical check does not need to be notarized, apostled, or Chinese Consulate stamped. On average, it takes about three to four weeks to do this. Once your school has received everything, either via post if it's Beijing or scans for other cities, they will work on applying for your work permit. They will submit your application to the local Bureau depending on what city you're in, and it will take about four weeks for your official work permit to be issued. Your school will then send you a scan of your work permit and of an invitation letter. Once you receive that, you've got everything needed to go and do your visa application. You'll book an appointment at your nearest Chinese Consulate, or you can do a postal application for a lot of places in the US. You'll do your official visa application and either have to post your passport off if you're doing the postal application or physically take it and hand it over at the consulate if you do a face-to-face appointment.
They'll go through all your documents, check everything's good, and if it is, they'll take your passport. A week later, you'll receive that back with your Chinese e-visa, which basically takes up one full page in the passport like a big rectangle and has a three month expiry date. So from the day you receive your Z Visa, you need to enter China within three months. Once you enter China, the Z Visa will be converted into a residence permit. You don't really need to worry too much about this, as this is something the school will take care of. But what's important to know is that you need to be in China within three months. I have had a couple of teachers in the past who have spent two to three months going through this entire process, paying money to get their documents sorted, got their visa, and then waited too long, so it has expired. So it's very important if you've got any kind of arrangements or things back home that you need to stick around for and it's going to take longer than three months, don't do the visa application straight away once you get your work permit, just sit on the documents for a while, and only apply once you know you'll be in China within three months time.
How to Enter China for teaching English
Very good question, so pre-COVID, the most sensible way to get to China was to fly directly in, visiting a variety of airports or just a direct flight. When I flew to China, I transited in Dubai, I believe, but you could basically transit anywhere. Since COVID, things have been a little bit more complicated, to say the least. First of all, the price of flights into China has skyrocketed over the last couple of years, due to the Chinese government reducing the number of flights coming in, which has meant that the demand is really high, but the supply is not there, so the price has gone up. As well as that, the Chinese government has a requirement that if you transit during a flight, you need to get a COVID test done in the airport that you're transiting.
For example, I'm in Manchester now in the UK. If I was to fly from Manchester and stop in Dubai, I wouldn't be able to board that second flight to China because Dubai doesn't have the COVID testing facilities in the airport. There are only a few airports that have this, so in Europe it's Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris, and there's one more. So, if you're going to fly to China in transit, you've got to pick a route that stops at one of these airports. Now, if you were to go on SkyScanner or Kayak, one of these flight websites, and you typed Manchester to Shanghai, loads of flights come up, but about 90% you can't get because they don't meet this requirement.
One method that a lot of teachers have been using to get around this is entering China via Hong Kong. It's first of all a lot cheaper than flying straight into China, and it also saves having to transit to an airport, staying in the airport for 20 hours, and doing another COVID test. Over the last couple of months, I've helped about 30 teachers enter via Hong Kong, and it's quite a smooth process. There are a lot of different steps, which I'll quickly cover now, but generally it's going to save teachers a lot of money. So, how it works is you would fly from your home country to Hong Kong, which is quite cheap. You can transit anywhere when you're doing this as well. Once you arrive in Hong Kong, you would do a three day self-quarantine, where you can move around the city, but you need to get a couple of COVID tests done on the second and third day that you're there. During this time, you would apply online via a lottery type system to get a crossing slot into China, and this normally takes about a week or so for you to get an appointment. So, teachers are spending about a week applying every day.
You basically need to log on to a website first thing in the morning, put your application in, and at 8pm that evening, you find out if you've been successful. Once you have finally been successful, you'll go to the Shenzhen Hong Kong border on the day of your crossing, and then you'll have a three hour crossing where you go through Customs, they check your visa, they make you do another COVID test, there are a variety of different QR codes and stuff that you need to show.
But then you're in China and then you'll get taken to a hotel, usually in Shenzhen or one of the surrounding cities, and you'll do your 10 days quarantine. So it's a little bit of a pain, it's like it adds 10 days or whatever to the journey, but honestly it's so much cheaper. The average flight price from the US to China in July was about eight thousand dollars, whereas doing this Hong Kong group, even though it's adding a week, it was only about fifteen hundred dollars. That's including hotels, food, drink, everything in Hong Kong. So the schools also covered that then. Um, not really, no. No, it depends on the school. Some schools will cover the hotel cost in Hong Kong, some will reimburse the flights, but generally the schools don't cover stuff on the Hong Kong side once the teacher enters Shenzhen and then starts that new quarantine. That's the bit that the school will reimburse. All right, so yeah it's worthwhile doing. A lot of teachers don't have eight thousand dollars hanging around, so it's obviously a more viable option. Um, one thing to add though, things are moving in the right direction. I'd say the average price now from the US to China is about three thousand dollars, so that's more than half over the last few months, and it is still going in that direction. I've seen a lot more teachers who are flying directly in now, compared to July August time, so yeah. I think if you apply for a teaching position now and you were to head out in maybe January or February, this entire slide might just be pointless and direct flights might just be back to normal, and they might even get rid of the Kobe testing rules. But for the time being, Hong Kong's still a very good option for a lot of teachers. I actually also went in via Hong Kong, where I went to Guangzhou, because it was actually cheaper. Um, so yeah it was not too bad. I was a lot of people at the border crossing, but I guess now it's less people, so that's nice. Yeah, you didn't have to do a lottery system, did you? Oh, I don't know. Yeah, it is literally just, I think there was a lot of resources. Yeah, right. Cool. Uh, then you're in China and you're the first weeks in China, what do they look like for teachers? Yes, so regardless of whether you fly direct or go via Hong Kong, like I've just discussed, once you first get into China, you're gonna do 10 days quarantine. This quarantine, you don't need to pre-book, you don't need to arrange yourself. You will literally get taken from the airport or from the crossing in Shenzhen by some government officials or police directly to a hotel that's been kind of designated for you.
It's completely random which hotel you go to. I've heard mixed reviews. I've had teachers who've had squat toilets when they weren't expecting them. Mixed reviews on the food. Some teachers have had really nice hotels and had a nice relaxing 10 days. Some have been counting down until they get released and it's complete potluck really. But that's how you'll spend the first 10 days. Once you get released from quarantine, if you're in the city you're going to be teaching. Great if you're not. Let's say you fly to a different city or you cross at Shenzhen. First thing you'll do is obviously get an internal flight up to your city or down to your city. Which, as I've mentioned, they're quite cheap. It's about 80-90 US dollars for an internal flight in China.
Yeah, it's really not too expensive. Once you arrive, your work and finding an apartment. So you'll spend the first few days searching around for an apartment. Depending on where your school's based, you'll speak to housing agents, and typically the school will put you in contact with any preferences you've got, such as how many bedrooms, what your budget is, what the maximum commute you're willing to do is going to be. They'll factor all these in and they'll present you with options. And I do have quite a few schools now though that during the 10 days quarantine they're having their teachers find the apartment then, kind of to kill two birds with one stone because obviously ten days of sitting around not doing much, they're making better use of that time by putting the teachers in contact with agents and getting the ball rolling with viewing places, and a lot of the time signing up for places.
Once you've got your apartment sorted, though, whether that's done in quarantine or actually when you get to the city, you will then do a couple of other things. So, first of all, I've not mentioned it here, but you will go to the police station to register your apartment. This takes a couple of hours. Someone from your school will typically take you to do this. Then within those first few days, you're going to open a bank account, which is obviously very important because your salary will be paid into it. And until you have a bank account open, it's quite difficult to use a lot of the Chinese payment apps like WeChat, Alipay. So, for those first couple of weeks in China, it's quite good to have, first of all, some cash that you've got in your home country and also make sure you've got a Visa card because MasterCards don't really seem to be working in China recently, whereas Visa cards you can withdraw and cash on from back home. And, but yep, you'll open your bank account.
Your First Week in China
You'll obviously have a few days settling into your apartment, buying groceries, bedding, towels, anything that you need for your apartment, pots, pans, plates, and just generally getting used to the area, finding your bearings, and seeing what's nearby. You will then begin training. This kind of varies depending on what school you're in. So, if you're at a training center, you'll do a week or two of training before you actually do any teaching, where they'll teach you the curriculum, you'll go over different teaching styles, classroom management, behavior management. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of teachers, who are first-time teachers, go into training centers. So, a lot of trading centers don't like to just throw you in the deep end straight away.
And public schools and kindergartens, you get a little bit of training, but you would typically start teaching a lot sooner. So, yeah, it depends on the school type, but then you'd start teaching. What are the common struggles a teacher might face during their first few weeks in China? And I did want to touch on this because a lot of teachers, for the first two, three, even four weeks, no squats. Aside from the silence, I would say a lot of teachers do generally feel quite overwhelmed in the first months, and there's a few reasons why. It's first of all, there's the culture shock. Like you're on the other side of the world in a completely different culture. Like whether you're from the US, the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Canada, wherever, China is a completely different country and culture. It's not like, because I'm from the UK, it's not like me going to Spain where everything's still quite westernized. And stuff, it is very, very different. So, a lot of teachers kind of take a bit of time to get used to that. On top of that, during the first couple of weeks, there's so much going on. You're finding an apartment, which in itself, if you were to do that back home, is quite a stressful experience. You're then opening a bank account, you're going to police stations.
There's a language barrier, so you might struggle to communicate with people. You've got all of this kind of stuff going on, and then to top it off, you're starting a new job, teaching, which a lot of teachers haven't done before or maybe don't have much experience with. So, all these things kind of added together, it can make a teacher feel a little bit overwhelmed for the first months, like they're constantly busy, constantly not too sure what's going on, a little bit stressed out. And this is very, very common. I speak to so many teachers when I'm just checking in with them after two, three, four weeks, who are feeling a bit stressed. And I always just say to them, honestly, just write it out. The first few, the first month or so is a bit all over the place and a bit hectic. But, once you get past that first month, you get into a regular schedule and routine at work.
You start to make friends and socialize more. You get used to how things work in a shop or on the Metro and how to actually operate and the culture shock goes. You actually really enjoy yourself, and it starts to feel like you're there for all the reasons you went initially. You obviously start to get your first paycheck and start seeing the financial rewards as well. But yeah, the first month can be a bit bumpy, and it's definitely worth mentioning that, for sure. I think a lot of people, it's weird because you kind of feel like you're a child because you can't do anything on your own. For a lot of people who are used to being independent and doing everything, that can be quite a struggle, I think, because of the language barrier and you don't know how things work in this country. You always need maybe your co-worker or your boss accompanying you somewhere to go to open a bank account and all of these things, so you feel like a little bit like a little kid until you know everything. Yeah, I mean I always say to teachers when they first arrive: do not be scared to ask for help. Don't feel cheeky, don't feel like oh, I want to figure this out myself because you're just going to make your life hard for yourself, and just ask for help, either ask me, ask the school, ask the landlord, whoever it may be. Yeah, and typically people, and people are happy to help in China, like especially when you're clearly new to the country and you're still figuring things out. No one's going to be annoyed at you if you don't understand some things. Yeah, and usually at the school, they would kind of assign someone who usually is the most fluent in English to be like your assistant for the first month or so and go everywhere with you, so you always have someone to ask.
Exactly, that you're not alone there.
What does the future look like for teaching English in China?
A lot of people were saying like because of those new regulations, it's getting more difficult, but what are your thoughts and Covet of course? So, yeah, what do you think? First of all, I just want to start by saying some of these predictions could come back to haunt me because China is a very, very unpredictable place. It's true, like things can just happen all of a sudden in China. Like if the government introduces a new regulation, if there's a new covid outbreak, anything could happen that could kind of change things. But, these are kind of my predictions for what I think the TEFL market in China is going to look like over the coming years.
So, let's start with covid. We've obviously mentioned earlier on how it's impacted flights. There have been lockdowns in cities sporadically, and China is still kind of battling covid, whereas it feels certainly in the Western World almost a thing of the past. I can't remember the last time I wore a face mask, for example, here in the UK. I think China's gradually going to come out of covid. Again, this could come out to bite me, but the reason I say that is, first of all, they've made the Visa quite easy to obtain again.
The visa rules now are the same as they were pre-covered. There's no PU letter anymore, which shows that they're opening up. There's talk of tourist visas potentially starting soon, student visas, so they are willing to give more people the opportunity to enter the country, and this has been highlighted with flights. So, as we mentioned on a previous slide, the price of flights into China has dropped drastically over the last three or four months, and it's more than halved, so it's a lot cheaper for people to get into the country now. The more international flights are starting up daily in China, and the lockdowns when it comes to covid don't seem as severe as they were six months ago or a year ago. I'm sure a lot of people saw in the news Shanghai was in quite a bad lockdown for quite a long time.
What they seem to be doing now is just having very, very small, short lockdowns in certain communities or districts if there's an outbreak all of a sudden rather than shutting the entire city down for a long period of time. So, I don't really have many schools at the minute that are closed because of lockdowns. I don't want to say there won't be more lockdowns in China in the future because there's a chance there could be, but I do just generally get the feel that they are slowly coming out of things.
They're just not doing it as quickly as we did in the Western World. They're not ripping the plaster off, so to speak, but they are slowly opening up, which means more teachers are going to come in, and that's going to stabilize the TEFL market a little bit more. I touched on the training center regulations before. Regulations were brought in 15 months ago that impacted training centers. All schools since then have had new teaching license, business license issued, so those regulations shouldn't really have too much more of an impact on the training center system. But, as I've mentioned a couple of times, it is unpredictable. Like, the regulations that they brought in 15 months ago, no one foresaw them. Like, there was no rumors or murmurings for months beforehand.
Literally, I woke up one day and just saw on the news that China introduced some new regulations that were going to impact the English market over there. As we saw, the online sector absolutely crumbled as a result of it. So, yeah, they could potentially bring something else in, but I personally don't see it. China has got the greatest demand for English teachers in the world.
There are nearly a billion people in China who are learning English. It's got one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it's got a very, very large middle class who are now sending their children to learn English. So, even if the Chinese government were to introduce more regulations on training centers or TEFL in general in China, that demand for learning English isn't going to go away. A lot of parents in China want their children to learn English and maybe go to university in America or the UK. English is the global common second language that people use to communicate, so that demand is always going to be there. And I personally think it would be a little bit reckless of the Chinese government to completely try and get rid of training centers in the TEFL market. Because it is a big part of the teaching system over there, it's a big part of the economy.
So, yeah, I personally think things are stabilizing. I'm not just saying that as a recruiter who wants to send teachers to China. Like if I didn't think things were stabilizing, I'd be focusing more on South Korea and other countries, but I still think China is the place to go and teach. Teachers can earn the most money there, experience an amazing culture, integrate with amazing local people, gain some great teaching experience with opportunities to progress their career whilst they're over there. And yeah, that's kind of my prediction. Like I say, don't don't hold me to it too much.
One thing I did just want to touch on as well is what would be the best way for teachers to progress their career whilst in China. So, if someone maybe doesn't have an official teaching license but they see teaching as a future career, what can they do when they're in China? Do they have to stick at a training center? Is there any way they can get to an international school? There is, and I'm going to break that down now.
How to Advance in your Career of teaching English in China
So, a lot of teachers who do a TEFL and haven't taught when they go to China start off in a training center, at least for the first year or two years. But quite a lot of the time, if teachers who are doing this really, really enjoy teaching and they know it's a future career for them, they want to be in a different environment and maybe earn more money, there is a way that you can kind of progress through the system in China. And there is a way that you can get licensed without having to go back to your home country, and the way you can do this is through something called an IPGCE, which is an International PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education). There are certain universities in the UK, like the University of Derby and the University of Sunderland, that offer this, where it's a completely online course.
So, you could be teaching at a training center still and doing your IPGCE online. Usually it takes a year to do, and once you've got that, you're deemed an official licensed teacher. A lot of international schools would then take you on and give you that opportunity, where you could gain experience in a more enhanced setting. A lot of international schools as well, and if you've taught for maybe two or three years in a training center, maybe you've done a year in a public school as well, they will take teachers on who are studying for the IB IPGCE at the same time. And if the teacher is showing the commitment, like, "I want to be a licensed teacher, I want to start doing this course," a lot of international schools will take teachers on who are doing that.
So, yeah, there is a way for you to kind of progress and get that teaching class as well, since you don't need to go back to your home country, which a lot of teachers think is the only way. Right, yeah. Nice, awesome. Good stuff. Great. I learned a lot. Thank you so much. Then no problem, no problem. Yeah, totally. I actually have one question for you. What's your favorite thing about China? Favorite thing about China. I've got a few things. I'd say one thing, I'd say we did this might sound a bit silly, but the efficiency. So, I feel like a lot of things you do in China, especially compared to the UK, are super efficient. For example, finding an apartment in China can take two days. In the UK, it would take you about three months to find a place and go through various checks. The public transport is just next level in China. Always on time. Here in the UK, it's probably 50/50 whether your train is actually going to show up or not.
And then another thing which I think probably doesn't get appreciated around the world is just how much of a beautiful country China is. There's the vast variety of landscapes and stuff they've got there. It's unbelievable. It's an enormous country. If you venture outside of the big cities, like you still get that real traditional Chinese feel in a lot of the rural cities and towns that it probably felt the same a thousand years ago in those kind of places. But yeah, there's all sorts. There's mountains. There's anything that you're into. Like if you're into hiking, if you're into outdoors, there's something to cater for you in China. And it's a really beautiful country. So, I'd say that would be probably my second thing as well. Yeah, so like the landscape because it's something I, I loved to do when I was in China. Travel, take the train, take domestic flights, and literally they have everything. Like mountains, national parks, deserts, beach, tropical beaches, like whatever you can find it there. It's great. And also like those little villages that are, yeah, doing the untouched beautiful. Yeah, and just the history there's, especially also in Beijing. I, I like Beijing. A lot of people don't like Beijing for a lot of reasons, but like I really like Beijing for the history. The Forbidden City is great.
I mean, one, one more thing actually just a very, very quickly add. We mentioned the four most popular cities before, didn't we? Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen. Those cities do offer very different things. So, Beijing and Guangzhou, for example, you do get a much more traditional Chinese feel. There's still a lot more traditional Chinese architecture because these cities are so much older, whereas Shenzhen and Shanghai, almost feel a little bit futuristic, very, very modern. And they've, over the last 30, 40 years, they've just come from nothing, really. So yeah, that's just worth noting because I know some teachers they want that Chinese feel, so I say to that aging or Guangzhou might be better. Whereas others, they're not really too bothered, or they want the more modern feel, where Shanghai and Shenzhen might be more appropriate. But like, if you're in Shanghai, you can just take the train, go down to, or next to, Hangzhou or Suzhou.
Yeah, same with Shenzhen as well, and you can, you can get the train to Guangzhou. Like, yeah, these places are isolated, but the architecture in Beijing and Guangzhou it just feels a bit more Chinese, if that makes sense. Yeah, it's more traditional. Yeah, nice, awesome. Well, this is really, really great. And let's just share one more time how people can find you, and, how it all works with applying. So, I'm just going to share this link one more time and obviously, you also have your own website, which is uh, teachenglishglobal.com. Yes, that's correct. So, anyone who's interested and wants to apply, click on the link that Linda's just shared, and that will take you through to an application form on the teflcourse.net website. Fill the application form in, and that will then come through to me. I will review your application, reach out to get in touch, and arrange a startup introductory call where we'll go through any preferences you've got about teaching in China and what it is you're looking for. We'll chat about any experience you've got, and then depending how that call goes, I will then get your application over to some relevant schools in China, and we're working getting some interviews arranged for you. Awesome, sounds great. Well, thank you, Dan, for doing this today. It's very useful, and yeah, thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure. Awesome, and thanks for everyone watching today. And yeah, if you have any questions for me or for Dan about ITT or teach English Global, you can also leave comments here. Even after this live is over, we always get back to you in the, if you watch this as a replay, it'll always be in my, in our playlist on Facebook and on YouTube. And, yeah, I think that's it. Awesome, and yeah, thanks again, Dan. No problem. Thanks, Linda. Awesome. Bye.