Abigael.N, Online English Teacher at Acadsoc.
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From the bustling streets of Shanghai to the rolling hills of Yunnan Province, China is a dynamic location for those interested in teaching English abroad in Asia or work at home as an online English teacher. China’s massive population makes for Asia’s largest market for teachers looking for jobs and offers a broad range of travel opportunities as well. Let us have a short glimpse of China.
Recently, Acadsoc just launched a new project, allowing top-performance online English teachers to work in China and visit their office in Shenzhen. That can be a great opportunity for you to travel in this ancient but modern country with the lowest costs!
China’s size and population
With a long history, expansive landmass (3.7 million sq. miles – slightly larger than the continental US), and staggering population numbers (1.357 billion people), the sheer scale of China can be overwhelming. This leads to a lot of different job opportunities for online English teachers, with more people in China learning English than the entire population of the US and with a more fierce competition among students than their American peers. It also offers unparalleled options in terms of the experience of where you are teaching as well as to travelling in China.
While some people may envision going modern, with coastal metropolis’ like Shanghai, and exploring the hustle and bustle of a rapidly modernizing society (the population in Shanghai is larger than the entire population of Australia). You can also get lost exploring the limestone karst landscape while teaching in Guilin. From sprawling deserts & towering mountain ranges like the Himalayas to subtropical coastlines, China – much like the US – offers a vast array of geographical diversity. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of climate & environment, the size of China has something to offer everyone. The easy access to these destinations, and the rest of Asia, also make it an ideal location for those looking to prioritize travel.
Discussing with my students about beautiful sightseeing places in China is quite enjoyable. Some students sent me their photos when travelling to Sichuan and Tibet. I could just say ‘wow!’ when seeing a stretch of hills and the bluest sky in Tibetan Plateau. Every year, they shared with me their journey returning to hometown during Chinese New Year. What impressed me the most is the density of travellers…there are full of people at every corner! No matter at rail stations, airports, bus stops or gas stations.
The most attractive and mysterious thing for foreigners! The diversity of people and regions in China make food one of the most exciting facet of living there. Once you get past the initial intimidation of not knowing what is on the menu and the mysterious street meat, you’ll discover a country serious about eating and its cuisine. Whether you are sampling spicy Sichuan hotpot, late-night Shao Kao (BBQ), dim sum(Cantonese snacks), or just bowl after bowl of delicious noodles, Chinese food will surprise, delight, and (if we’re being honest) occasionally disgust you.
And it is Chinese preference to eat different seasonal food. That why we observe a variety of diet for different Chinese Festivals, i.e. Jiao Zi (dumplings) for Chinese New Year, Zong Zi (rice dumplings wrapped by lotus leaves) for Dragon Boat Festival, Moon Cake for Mid-Autumn Festival.
THE CONCEPT OF ‘Face’ – This complicated term will come up any time you start delving into the culture. It defies a simple explanation, but you can begin thinking about it as a form of pride. As a nation, the country is extremely proud of its history, culture, and contributions to the world. They’ll criticize it a lot, but as a foreigner, refrain from jumping into that criticism, as you can offend their sense of pride or the “face” of the country.
The concept of ‘Face’ is key when dealing with supervisors, colleagues, and even friends in China. Remember to be careful of being too direct, or critical of your supervisor or coworkers, especially in front of others. This can make them lose face in front of other people, and damage your ability to form a relationship with them.
GUANXI – Guanxi is the term given to your relationships and connections in China. From the process of getting a visa, getting an apartment, or going out for the evening, there is rarely a clear roadmap of what to expect for China, and everything depends on your guanxi. Legally it might say that you have to get a Z visa to work as a teacher in China, but the connections that your school has with the local government offices may find you working on an F visa. The cost of an apartment may completely change if you go through an agency that has connections with the landlord, versus if you find it on your own. You’ll often find that the best way isn’t always what is the most direct, rather it will be working around the relationships you have.
BE OPEN-MINDED! – China is a huge, diverse, and very different country. It has a lot to offer everyone, in terms of different experiences, cuisines, landscapes and adventures if you are open to it. Try that dish that looks weird to you, book a train ticket to that town you’ve never heard of, hang out in a tea house, or sing karaoke all night. Approaching your time with an open mind will make it much easier for you to get the most out of your time there!