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Why You Should Try Teaching English In China

Everyone has that list, a “bucket list” of the things they want to do or places to visit in their life. If you are from the English-speaking west and have a university degree, you have the unique opportunity to teach English abroad, which allows one to live overseas and financially support themselves doing so.

Countries like China (and also South Korea, Japan, or Vietnam) are in need of English teachers to teach children and adults. Native English speakers have found teaching English in China to be so much more fulfilling than their 9 to 5 jobs back home. Below are just a few of the reasons why teaching English in China or other parts of the world can be such a memorable experience.

Cultural Exchange

Teaching English abroad gives you first-hand experience of the culture of the country you are in. The people around you have a different lifestyle, language, and customs than yours. Everything is completely unfamiliar which may seem scary at first, but for the adventurous, sampling new foods and exploring new territories can be a truly refreshing and challenging experience.

Gain Valuable Work Experience

Depending on the industry, teaching abroad can improve your resume. While this isn’t always the case, there are plenty of potential employers who will like the fact that you took the initiative to go through the interview process, get a work visa and actually lived and worked in China. That alone has to say something about your personality. More importantly, an overseas teaching assignment allows potential employers to gauge your attitude towards challenges and skills in handling people from different cultures.

But keep in mind that there some potential employers who will care less if you taught in China or anywhere abroad and an occasional mid-management hack may not like it at all. But still, there are a lot of hiring managers who will see you as a person that is able to adjust and adapt gracefully to any type of situation in the workplace just because you have that experience abroad.

Being Paid to Travel

This is probably the best come-on for many travelers when offered to teach English abroad. Although teaching has lesser potential earnings compared to those in America or the UK, teaching can provide sufficient earnings to earn a living and give you opportunities to travel around.

Take teaching in China, for example, you can explore Hunan or follow the Silk Road. It is the opportunity to explore the region and the neighboring countries. You can visit several spots in a short trip which you can do during local holidays or your time-off.

You Give Back to the Global Community

You may not realize, but you also give back in a way when you teach in China. Well, that is if you at least make an effort. Teaching is a passion and people who are passionate about sharing knowledge and feeling joy when others learn are the best teachers.

When you teach English abroad, don’t fall into the trap of only being concerned with your own well-being.  Always keep in mind that what you are about to do will benefit many people – kids and adults. You will not only help your students improve their language skills, but you will also widen their horizons as you share your experiences beyond their borders. You have the chance to inspire them as they learn and become better English speakers.

How to Save Money while Working in China

Okay, we just got done talking about how you give back to the community by teaching in China and it is important to think of the well-being of others. Of course, that is true, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t also save money in China, nor should you feel guilty about it. Trust me, you will earn your paycheck teaching in China and you want something to show for it.

Whether or not you can save in China really comes does to your spending habits. While you are not going to make back home wages teaching English in China, the cost of living is cheaper. Keep in mind that the cost of living in China and teaching wages really depends on your location and the size of the city.

Most English Teachers in China make between $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the type of position and whether or not one is in the big city or a rural area. So if you are making say $1,500 in a mid-sized city, you are probably aren’t going to save a whole lot each month unless you just never go out and refrain from having any sort of social life.

Now, if you really want to pad your savings each month, what you really need to do is have a side hustle. Traditionally, a lot of teachers have picked up private lessons on the side, which can be great. However, they can also be inconsistent. While I still do a private lesson here and there, my main side income now is writing English essays or blog posts for international customers.

What I like most about this particular side hustle is that I can do it right from the comfort of my apartment. I don’t have to go anywhere, dress up, be anywhere or put on the fake smile routine. Since I usually don’t start teaching until 10 or 11 in the morning, I  usually spend an hour before my teaching job begins writing essays. Sometimes, I even do some writing between my classes and even an hour or two on the weekends.

This extra income each month along with the few hundred dollars I’m able to save from teaching allows me to save a modest amount each month. After five or six months, I have the extra money I need to travel and it makes a difference.

Curious about teaching English in China? Get off the couch, leave your comfort zone and try it out for yourself!


Jimmy is a world traveler who loves to teach and to blog about his experiences.

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