Teaching in China: 12 Tips for Your First Weeks Living Abroad

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Thinking of teaching in China? The ESL industry in China is booming and the demand for qualified English teachers is going up every day. If you’re one of the thousands of ESL teachers who have decided to make the leap to life in the Middle Kingdom, you’re in for an incredible adventure of a lifetime. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind during your first few weeks abroad in China. These tips should be second nature in no time!

Visit Reach To Teach Recruiting and ask their team of experts for more information on teaching in China!

  1. Westerners stand out in China, and they can be easy prey.  Be careful when you’re out and about.
  2. It’s OK to go out alone, but for your first few weeks in China, it’s better to hook up with friends or ask them to meet you before you head out.
  3. Keep a business card for the school you work for and a name card with your address so you can remember how to get home.
  4. Be wary of over-anxious English speakers you haven’t been introduced to.  There are scam artists everywhere and some of them speak English quite well.
  5. Expect to pay more at markets than the locals do. If you’re not sure how to make purchases at the local markets, try standing behind someone and watching what they’re buying. Try offering the same amount as the previous buyer, but don’t get upset if you’re asked to pay more. Paying a ‘foreigner’ price is a fact of life in China.
  6. Most taxi drivers are honest and fair, but sometimes you’ll meet one who wants to take you on the scenic route.  If you can’t express that you know you are being cheated, and you don’t want to pay the few extra RMB he is scamming you for, just shout out, “TING, TING, TING”, and the driver will stop.
  7. Never carry more money on you than you can afford to lose. As in most cities, pickpockets are everywhere.
  8. Don’t drink the tap water.
  9. During eat street food during your first few weeks in China. Wait until your system has had time to adjust properly.
  10. Markets are best in the morning, especially for things like meat and fresh produce. It’s ok to bargain when you shop.
  11. Always take tissue or toilet paper with you when you go out.  Most public facilities do not have toilet paper.
  12. It isn’t necessary to carry your passport and residence card with you.  Make photocopies and leave the originals at home.

6 thoughts on “Teaching in China: 12 Tips for Your First Weeks Living Abroad

  1. Daniel Carruthers

    Good tips here. You don’t need your passports or any photocopies when you leave home. Any old drivers license will suffice if you get caught out by some cop – it works for me at border checks if you happened to get asked…

    You can take tissues with you, however buying tissues is widely available and costs 1rmb.

    Most Chinese at the fresh produce market places are in fact quite honest, and more so when they know that you are living in the area. So the prices will be more or less the same.

    Yes Pickpockets can be everywhere, but this is the same in other countries – only that China has more people 😉 if you are watchful you will be fine.

    If you don’t want attention in places like train stations, or street corners with touts – you just look straight ahead and know where you are going. Sometimes the shake of the head and “bu yao, xiexie” will shake them off.

    Just a few extra to add 🙂

  2. ferienwohnungen playa d’aro

    Informative post Mam..I like the way you have explain everything about the first week tips in abroad that is China…i like this tip “Keep a business card for the school you work for and a name card with your address so you can remember how to get home.” Yeah its true that when a person go to a new place he/she confused where is the exact location of their residence….

  3. Megan

    Great tips! Even for other countries, not just China. Great idea taking business cards– this is how I got back to my hotel in Japan a few nights!

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