Published 2nd April 2021
Possibly one of the most difficult decisions to make once you are qualified to teach English as a Foreign Language is where to teach. The world is your oyster and you can choose to teach virtually anywhere. Funnily enough, there are some countries that have been popular with TEFL teachers for years and continue to rank in the top TEFL destinations.
Read more: The Top 10 Cities to Live in in 2021
Asia is definitely a hotspot for teaching English as a Foreign Language. Thailand is where you go if you want to have a good time, South Korea is where you earn the cash, and China…well, China is where you go for an interesting cultural experience and the chance to earn a bit of money. So, why should you choose China to teach English as a Foreign Language? There are so many reasons!
The demand is high
It is estimated that there are currently around 400 million English language learners in China. All of those students need teachers! Around 1,000 TEFL teachers are hired in schools and language schools around China every month! If you look on any online jobs board (TEFL.com is a good one), the options for China are overwhelming. So if you have a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, you are sure to find a job teaching English in China.
You can teach in any situation
Because there are so many opportunities for TEFL teachers in China, there is a range of teaching positions to choose from. You can teach kindergarten, teach in a primary or high school, teach at a university, teach in a private language school, teach in a summer school, teach privately or teach in-house in a company. You can teach General English, Business English, English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes, or English for exams. Whichever sort of teaching English as a Foreign Language suits you, you’ll be able to do it.
It’s like nowhere else on this planet
But what should bring you to China shouldn’t be just the teaching opportunities. China is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, with so much to offer by way of culture. Living and working in this country will give you a glimpse into a society not many people get to experience, and a chance to understand this fascinating nation.
China has a long and interesting history. It’s well-known for its ancient civilisation and now, in the 21st century, it is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Having such a colourful history means that China offers numerous historical sites for visitors to visit, most notably the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army in Xi’an.
Be warned though: living in China is a culture shock for many of us. If you come from a Western culture you might find some practices in China a bit unsettling or uncomfortable. This is par for the course in most foreign countries but a lot of people find China quite harsh. Experiencing culture shock is very normal and definitely not a reason to pack your bags and leave.
Read more: Culture Shock
Don’t let your experience of Chinese food fool you: Chinese food in China is nothing like your local Chinese takeaway – you can leave your fortune cookies at home! Whether you are down south, up north, or somewhere in the middle you are sure to find local specialties that you’ve never heard of or can’t recognise but which are wonderfully tasty. Ok, so maybe not everything is amazingly tasty – they are known for their appreciation of not-your-everyday foods – but in general, Chinese cuisine is awesome.
Our favourite Chinese dishes? Dim sum, Peking duck and hot pot.
China is a massive country, so it’s not surprising that it is very different in terms of food, culture, and landscape, depending on geography. From farms and plateaus to mountains and hills to lakes and beaches, China is ideal for those who enjoy being out in the fresh air. Or, if you’re more of a city mouse, Beijing and Shanghai have a lot to offer, and Hong Kong is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
In terms of living, you can choose to live in a big city or a more traditional, rural town or village. Small towns and villages definitely offer a more traditional Chinese experience but it can be quite lonely – you might be the only foreigner in your city. Big cities offer all the amenities you are used to (and probably more) and they are generally not far from the rural areas. With travel being so cheap and easy, it is totally doable to live in the city during the week and travel to a less touristy area on the weekend.
Considering that Mandarin Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world and looks set to rival English as the language of international business in the future, why not take the time now to learn the language? It’s most certainly not an easy language to learn, especially if you are an English-speaker, because of its tones, but it’s a beautiful language to be able to speak. Living here will mean that you will learn Mandarin Chinese out of necessity. Besides, knowing a few words in the local language will endear the locals to you, and you’re more likely to be treated as one of the locals if you know your ni hao from your xie xie.
Read more: 3 Ways to Help You Learn the Local Language
Clearly, if you’re keen to come to China, there is no shortage of jobs waiting for you. Schools, universities, language schools – there are a lot of people in China wanting to learn English. Living here is a decision you won’t regret, which makes it an ideal destination if you want to teach English as a Foreign Language.