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Focus on China: Adventures in Travel and Teaching

As China continues to open its doors to the world economy, travelers have the opportunity to experience life vastly unlike they’ve known. From the Great Wall to Karst Mountains, ancient ruins to Tian'anmen Square, it is a land suitably described as enormous, mysterious, and beautiful. China has many diverse provinces with densely packed cities, offering an exciting and distinct urban buzz - naturally coupled with the infamous pollution and traffic. The significant differences from Western culture and lifestyle can be frustrating and confusing, but they are the perfect solution for travelers looking to widen their perspective and break out of the routines of their hometown. It is also an extraordinary way for people to expand their social circles and form life-changing bonds.

For those in search of opportunities to earn a living while in China, one option is to teach English to the locals. China’s ESL job market is growing faster than any other in the world, as the rapidly growing middle class is highly motivated to learn English. From very young children whose parents are investing in early exposure, to adults preparing for study or work abroad, the need for English teachers is skyrocketing. ESL teachers can work at a kindergarten, a private language school, a public/ private primary or secondary school, a public/ private university, or a winter/summer camp.

Kindergartens have the least hours and lowest pay, and are good for high energy teachers who enjoy working with young learners. Next, private language schools are the most common position for ESL teachers. Here the pay varies widely, but they are generally the best paying, as well as the most demanding position in terms of hours. Primary and secondary schools tend to have lower salary, fewer hours, and much bigger class sizes than private language schools. Universities are similar to secondary schools. Notably, public institutions are more elite than the private institutions in China. Of those who cannot gain admittance to public schools, those with wealthy parents are able to go to private schools. Winter and summer camps are intensive and demanding, but a quick way to earn money while experiencing Chinese culture. For many positions the school will fund the teachers travel costs; however they do not usually do so for the camps.

Also, keep in mind that while private English lessons can be profitable, any work outside of the Visa-sponsored school position is illegal. It was once rather easy to get into China as an English teacher, but the requirements and policies have been tightened for foreigners. Recently, English teachers without a Z-Visa and the necessary credentials have been jailed and deported, having to pay their own legal expenses. If a company contacts you promising a position without these necessary requirements, or guaranteeing you’ll get the VISA after a probationary period, do not go for it. Get qualified for the position you are seeking, and always use secure and dependable channels. Earning your TESOL certificate with Promise Opens Doors guarantees you a quality and dependable teaching position in China. Apply at

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