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Old 10-10-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
258 posts, read 1,411,063 times
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I am considering teaching English in China and would like to get some advice from people who have lived in China or have extensive knowledge of the country. Right now I'm looking at the following cities: Harbin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, and Fuzhou. I have done quite a bit of research on the following cities but I'd still like some firsthand advice from people who have lived or traveled in these cities.The most important things I'm looking for in a city are: medium sized (not too big like Beijing or Shanghai), clean air (no pollution), scenic area with lots of natural beauty (mountains, rivers, lakes), cost of living is relatively low, friendly people, Mandarin speaking community. Also if anyone knows the average salary for an ESL teacher in these areas that would be great. Or if anyone has any advice on teaching English in China I'd love to hear about it.


thanks
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Just as an aside - between Taiwan, China and Korea.

Generally speaking I think your experience teaching would be similar. Money-wise, it is better in Korea.

BUT, you should definetely go with the culture/language/country you are most interested in. I think it might be China/Taiwan with Mandarin - as having lived in Korea for years, a lot of people go there for the money, but forget that they have to live in a country/culture/language the entire time, and if they have no interest in the actual place whatsoever, it becomes very tiring for them quickly.
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:22 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,939,455 times
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I would suggest that the southern cities in China; Kunming, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and somewhat Xi'an tend to have less pollution than the northern cities; Beijing, Shanghai, or Chongqing. Beijing is definitely the worst, I would strongly suggest avoiding it for health reasons--even if you are not sensitive to bad air, the atmosphere is really toxic.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:15 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,351,920 times
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Dave's ESL Cafe

Daves ESL cafe is the best site for teachers of EFL. If you create a login on Daves, you will then enable a folder for China not available for the unregistered. On this hidden folder you can discuss topics unrelated to the teaching profession, on just living in China.

Go to Daves. Create a login. Then look at the China (off topic) folder. This is where the real dirt about teaching in China is.

Beware the Great Chinese Firewall.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:29 AM
 
Location: Macao
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I have been to Chengdu - and it is a very comfortable, nice city. I also like Kunming - which is another Mandarin-speaking city on the list of others.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:12 AM
 
Location: rain city
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Although it is an absolutely horrific web design (reconfigured last year), have a look at 'The Bejinger', a high volume English language expat website in China.
the Beijinger | Beijing classifieds, forum, directory, blog, and more | thebeijinger.com

It includes a forum for ESL teachers in China, and a lot of other useful China info if you can make you way through the reams of BS infested forums. Very useful place if you can filter through the garbage. Definitely worth the trouble, especially on visa issues, and plenty of teachers post there from all throughout China--especially on days the government doesn't hold the internet in lockdown.

Good luck.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:56 AM
 
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I am a Chinese now living in Guangzhou and have stayed or traveled to all cities the op mentioned, among which I like Xiamen most, with beautiful sceneries and beach. Plus Xiamen University is one of the best in China. Zhejiang University of Hangzhou is also very famous BTW. I drive to Xiamen (9 hours) for vocation almost every year.
Hangzhou is also a good choice, my wife's hometown, one of the hottest city for travelers. Chengdu is the capital city of Sichuan province, life is quite slow there comparing with eastcoast cities, if you can stand the breathless heat in summertime.
I don't recommend Harbin and Fuzhou, due to the terrible environment and bad economy.
I have to add that none of the a/m cities is mediumsized, all crowded with over 5 million residents each. Xiamen is comparatively better except for peak seasons. Only Harbin people speak mandarin as their local dialect, but it will not be a problem bc all Chinese can understand and speak mandarin.
Life is quite easy and cheap in most cities for a foreigner, in Xiamen and Hangzhou, a good apt at 1000 sqft is around USD200-300/mo, Chengdu, Harbin around USD100-200. You can live a good life with RMB5000 (USD750) /mo in Hangzhou (most expensive city). As far as I know, most universities here provide free apt for foreign teachers they hire. I am not clear about the average salary, but basically the southern the higher, just an estimation, average monthly income for a company employee is like this, Harbin and Chengdu USD250-300, Nanjing and Fuzhou USD300, Xiamen USD450, Hangzhou USD600. I suppose an university may pay you USD1000/mo plus apt, depending on the courses you teach, besides, you can easily make extra incomes equal to your normal salary by teaching in some part-time training schools. English means not only a language in China, but also a huge business.
Chinese people are very friendly to Laowai (foreigners), you will find it very easy to make friends here.
Apart from the cities you mentioned, why not consider some real mediumsized cities in Pearl River Delta area of Guangdong province, like Zhongshan and Zhuhai, comparing with most northern cities of China, they are more beautiful and clean, with only half a million population. It is not difficult to find a job there as a foreign language teacher in local universities. I know some at their 20s, they teach for a year or two here to afford a countrywide travel. Try to avoid Guangzhou, over 10mil people here, terrible traffic, heavy pollution, crimes ridden...

I will be relocated to our company's US branch in LA early next Jan, now waiting for my L1 visa. To prepare myself the soonest for the prospective 6 year stay in the states, I have been scanning hundreds of threads in this forum, very helpful indeed. It seems I will have much tougher time than you in China.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,231,932 times
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I've traveled across southern China, from Hong Kong to Vietnam, through the interior. It is wonderful. The largest cities I saw were Wuzhou, Guilin, Nanning, which are not very big, and not very industrialized. I would go back there in a minute to live, if I could. The atmosphere is healthy, and the lifestyle is relaxed, the countryside is beautiful and uncrowded, and the people were pleasant and helpful. That was 15 years ago, things might have changed.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:31 PM
 
Location: NoVa
2,125 posts, read 2,909,737 times
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Just a side note, I don't know if any city outside of Beijing can be considered mandarin-speaking community. China is very diverse, although it may look similar to non Chinese. Each province has its own chinese dialect, which sounds different from Mandarin, and almost all locals will speak their own local dialect to each other, and only use Mandarin to non locals. Because of this, Mandarin spoken by someone from Shanghai, or Xiamen, or Guang Zhou, will be spoken with distinct accent from their native province. It's generally accepted in China that only people from Bei Jing speak the true Mandarin dialiect.

I'm not so sure about the 'no pollution' requirement either. If you want to work as ESL teacher, chances are, you'll have to work in a bigger city, because only those cities have the money to hire foreigners to teach english. The bad news is, all bigger cities in china are polluted, some more heavily than others.

Having said that, I would recommend 2 cities: Kun Ming and Gui Lin. Both are relatively small cities with beautiful sceneries. Kun Ming is called 'the city of eternal spring' due to its year-round spring like temperature. Gui Lin has beautiful rivers and mountains, but its summer humidity can be quite oppresive.
You'll find that parents in China are quite eager to (literally) push their kids to practice their english on you.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:34 PM
 
Location: where the moss is taking over the villages
2,178 posts, read 4,844,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Dave's ESL Cafe

Daves ESL cafe is the best site for teachers of EFL. If you create a login on Daves, you will then enable a folder for China not available for the unregistered. On this hidden folder you can discuss topics unrelated to the teaching profession, on just living in China.

Go to Daves. Create a login. Then look at the China (off topic) folder. This is where the real dirt about teaching in China is.

Beware the Great Chinese Firewall.
Hi Azoria, I could see where to register for chat. I can see a job discussion forum that says new registrations will begin Oct. 19, 2009. Is there any other registration page that I may be missing?

Kate
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