Teach English In China
Education is valued by the Chinese people as evidenced by a 91% literacy rate and the fierce competition for admittance to Universities. Over 11 million students attend the over 1,500 colleges and universities. All educational requirements for the people of China are managed by The Ministry of Education.
English-language education has been accorded much importance in China in the last quarter century. This accounts for the increased need of native English teachers in China. English and other foreign languages are optional in primary school, but become mandatory in junior and senior middle school.
China has a nine-year compulsory schooling system, meaning all children are required to attend school for at least nine years. Higher education is only for those students who have passed examinations at all compulsory levels. The school year consists of two semesters. The fall semester begins in early September and runs till late January or early February. Winter vacation typically runs from two to three weeks around the Lunar New Year. Spring semester begins following the Lantern Festival in mid-February and ends in early June.
English teachers in China should be aware that schedules may be different from schools in the U.S. Students generally attend public school Monday through Friday for an average of 8.5 hours per day. Many of these students then take additional courses (particularly English and the sciences) during the evenings and weekends. Private school teachers will have a schedule that is dependent upon the individual school and English language program.
With delicious and varied cuisine, some of China’s famous dishes are Peking duck, dim sum, steamed buns, and spicy snacks. Be aware that it’s considered improper to leave your chopsticks standing in your rice. If you want something exotic and delicious, try bananas in honeyed pancakes. Of course, the specific dishes available will vary from region to region.
Most people in China drink hot water and tea rather than cold. It is believed that hot water helps aid the digestion of food and hot tea cleanses the body of oils. Tap water in most areas is not drinkable, and this also includes avoiding ice. Drinking bottled water is common in China. Many of the familiar brands of soft drinks are available, but you will find that local brands are cheaper than imported ones. Beer is inexpensive and one of the most popular drinks in China.
Western ingredients are not difficult to find in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Stores like Wal-Mart and Trust Mart will carry cheeses, pastas, and cereals.
Over the past several years, apartments, particularly high-rise units, have begun to spring up all over China. Not only has the availability of housing increased, but the living conditions have improved dramatically as well. New units are being built with many of the amenities that westerners take for granted, including fast Internet connections, central heating, electricity, and toilets. Although some teachers abroad have opted for “Serviced Apartments”—temporary, furnished short-term housing—many of these units have become more similar to hotels with comparable, higher prices.
Housing costs vary, but most units cost $500 USD to over $1,200 USD per month. The closer you are to major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the higher your housing costs.
There are typically two types of housing available:
Traditional Chinese houses consist of two to four buildings enclosed by a wall and facing a rectangular central courtyard. You can see these in the “hutongs” of Beijing or in other older neighborhoods of Chinese cities or villages. Most of the older housing buildings are three to five stories. There is usually a balcony, which is often enclosed in Northern China.
Apartments commonly have one or two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Floors are usually made of concrete.
Some items that you may take for granted in the U.S. but shouldn’t expect in China are:
Many teachers abroad actually get their clothes laundered. If you elect to do your own laundry, you will need a drying rack.
There are bath houses where you can immerse yourself, but expect only a shower in your home.
You will have a gas stove, but it may be smaller than what you are used to.
China boasts over 210 million Internet users – more than any other country in the world. Broadband service is becoming increasingly available thanks to strong government backing of companies such as China Netcom, which offers broadband service at 68 RMB/a month.
Various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in different regions. Internet cafés are not as prolific in China as in some other Asian countries due in part to licensing requirements by the Ministry of Culture. However, they are an economical option for roughly 4 RMB per hour for those who do not want to commit to a monthly service contract. Some cafés even offer off-peak discounts.
Connections tend to be a little slow by international standards. Most new residential compounds in the main cities have DSL or broadband already installed, for which users pay a monthly charge of around 130 RMB.
Regulations have recently come into force requiring Internet users to register with Chinese public security authorities. Failure to do so is a criminal offense. Additionally, the government blocks some western sites such as Wikipedia.
For those of you that may want to stay connected with a print newspaper, the China Daily is the only English language newspaper in China.
Hotel choices vary from city to city. Generally a three-star hotel will cost about 300 RMB per night. It is important to always carry your passport and visa, as you will need to present them at check in.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Aclipse and Employers
What kind of support can I expect from Aclipse and the Chinese employer?
Once you have been matched with a school in China, your employer will be your primary contact and will assist you in getting your Z-visa, booking your flight, arriving in China, and getting to your apartment. They will also provide you with all the relevant details relating to your work experience and living in China such as completing the medical check, opening your bank account, and registering as a resident in China. Throughout the entire process your Aclipse recruiter will continue to offer support to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. You may also receive newsletters regarding "Life in China" and tips for adapting to living and teaching there.
Are the employers that Aclipse works with stable?
Yes. We can confidently say that any employer we work with is stable, provides an enjoyable work environment, and follows through on their contract conditions and terms of employment.
Do I need teaching experience?
Placements in China require candidates to have at least one year of formal teaching experience. Your Aclipse recruiter will help you in securing a placement that matches your experience. All of the employers in China will provide training programs. You will receive ongoing support from your supervising instructors during your employment.
I’m thinking of enrolling in a TESL/CELTA course. Will that help?
Yes. Most of the teaching placements in China require candidates to have a TESL/CELTA certificate (at least 40 hours and ideally 100 hours). However, you can begin the application and interview process prior to having enrolled or completed a course.
I don’t speak Chinese. Will I be able to communicate with the students in the classroom when I teach in China?
Yes. Students are encouraged to only use English in the classroom and expect their teacher to only speak to them in English. While there will be varying levels of ability, the teaching materials and techniques you'll be trained to use ensure that students will be able to follow your instruction and participate actively in the lessons.
Do employers offer free language classes?
While not all employers offer free language lessons, many do. If language lessons are offered, it's a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture and language! All campuses will have local Chinese staff working there so it's also an opportunity for you to practice your Chinese language skills as you learn.
Can I experience this opportunity with a friend or partner?
Yes. For candidates applying as couples it is possible to be placed together in the same city, school, and/or apartment. For friends, the employer may be able to place you in the same city but in different schools and apartments. While we can't guarantee this for all co-applicants, your preferences will be taken into consideration.
Can I bring dependents?
While we accept applications from all qualifying candidates, please note that the employers do not offer any relocation assistance for accompanying dependents. Hired candidates seeking to travel with dependents must ensure that dependents traveling with them have the appropriate visa, find their own accommodation, and cover travel costs to and from China.
Can I state a preference for a particular city location?
Absolutely! Let us know what your preference is, and we’ll do our best to match you with a school in that area. Just keep in mind that placements are ultimately based on the needs of the schools and the availability of teaching positions. Regardless of your preference, the diversity of China should allow you to find a city that meets your needs.
Do employers have a dress code?
In general, the rule is "smart or business casual.” Visible tattoos are not permitted, and piercings other than earrings must also be removed while teaching. Most employers in China also discourage unusual hairstyles or hair colors, and prefer a more conservative appearance.
Am I allowed to work other part-time jobs to supplement my income?
No. Z-visas are sponsored by your employer. Your contract will state that employees are prohibited from securing outside employment.
What does the National Health Insurance plan cover?
Medical attention and prescription medication at a fraction of the regular cost.
What resources are provided for teachers who teach English in China?
Our main employer in China has its own textbook series for Young Learners, Business, and General English Classes. This series builds progressively on past learning principles and is geared for beginning through intermediate learners. Advanced and test-preparation courses use recognized published course material. Whatever the academic needs, the schools have the scholastic material you'll need to help your students develop their English. In addition, each school has well-equipped classrooms that generally include computer labs, bright student lounges, and teacher-preparation areas.
What are we expected to teach?
Depending on your placement, you may be teaching kids, university-level students, or adults of varying language ability. Once your placement is confirmed you'll know which age group you'll be working with. Lesson plans are based on the curriculum. Before you begin your teaching placement you'll participate in a comprehensive training program that will give you the tools and techniques needed to be an effective teacher. While there is a standard program to deliver, you'll be encouraged to use your own creativity and individual teaching style to engage students in the lesson material and content.
Are there any after-school activities in which teachers need to participate?
There may be. For public school positions, teachers may occasionally be asked to participate in activities outside of regular school hours. This is included in the teaching contract, and anything in excess of the required teaching hours or outside regular school hours will be paid at designated overtime rates. For private school placements there would not be any after school activities required.
What are the visa requirements to teach English in China?
You will be required to obtain a “Z” visa in your home country before coming to China. A Z-visa is issued to a foreigner who comes to China to work long-term. It must be applied for outside of China and is specific to the school and region. It is valid for one year. To comply with government regulations, you must have a health check in order to obtain a work permit and alien employment certificate from the Labor Bureau. You will then be issued a residence permit and another Z-visa by the Public Security Bureau. Aclipse will walk you through each step of the process.
For Z visa application details please visit: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/t1071018.htm
Who pays for my visa and required visa documents?
Candidates are responsible for organizing and covering the cost of any required documents needed to apply for the Z visa. Your employer covers any expenses related to the cost of the application in China and also reimburses the fee you pay when you apply for your Z visa at the Chinese consulate in your home country.
How much does a work visa cost?
It can cost up to $130 USD. (This does not include the document collection costs)
Where is my closest Chinese consulate/embassy?
Please refer to the following website: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/t84229.htm
I do not feel comfortable submitting my original degree to China for the visa process. Is it absolutely necessary?
Depending on where you will be teaching in China, you may be asked to submit your original degree. You will only be asked to submit it once you have accepted a job offer and it will be returned to you during your training week.
How often am I paid, and how is my salary deposited?
Typically salary is paid once a month and will be directly deposited into your Bank of China account. Your employer will assist you in setting up your bank account once you are in China.
Are tax rates very high in China?
Different tax rates are levied on various categories of personal income. Progressive tax rates on income start at 5%.
What are some monthly expenses that I will have to budget for?
Utilities, transportation to and from work, and daily living expenses. Generally speaking, teachers in China can afford a very good lifestyle.
What is the cost of living in China?
Currency converter: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
How much can I expect to save?
Depending on your personal spending habits, you can expect to save anywhere from 10% to 50% of your salary. In general, if you live in a major city like Beijing, your cost of living will be higher. Smaller cities and rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living, so it is easier to save money. On average, teachers save about $1,000/month.
Is it possible to send money home?
Yes. Several options are available: bank-to-bank transfers, money orders sent via the post office, and third-party agencies (e.g., Western Union) to name a few.
Can I use my debit card overseas?
Check the back of your debit card for Plus or Cirrus symbols. International ATMs overseas will accept cards with these symbols. You will want to check the symbols above the ATM before using. Also many Chinese ATMS require a six-digit pin number, so you may have to put two zeros at the beginning of your pin.
Can I use my credit card in China?
Yes. Please remember to contact your bank prior to your departure to inform them you will be traveling overseas. If you do not inform your bank, then it’s possible they will freeze your card to protect you from fraudulent charges.
What are my start-up costs?
Your initial few weeks in China will require some up-front cash. Many landlords require a deposit plus two months' rent in advance. You may also incur cell phone and living expenses before you receive your first month’s salary. It is recommended that you bring at least one month's salary to help fund your apartment and living start-up costs in China. Employers in China offer up to an 8,000 RMB loan to help offset some of your initial costs. This loan repayment will be taken out of your salary over a three-month period. In addition, you'll be provided with accommodation in a hotel for the first two weeks while you participate in orientation and teacher training. There is also a Welcome Pack which includes meal, transportation, and phone cards.
Will my flight to China be reimbursed?
GIn some cases your employer in China may be able to cover your flight cost. In other cases you'll be provided with an allowance to offset the cost of the flight. The details relating to any and all benefits you'll be awarded will be provided to you with an offer and will also be included in your employment contract.
General Questions about Teaching Overseas
Who is teaching abroad?
Our applicants to teach English abroad come from all types of backgrounds. All have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, but their majors vary from English literature or humanities to Asian studies or even engineering. Teachers hail from the U.S. and Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Some have teaching experience, but most have never stood in front of a classroom before. However, they all share these traits:
- Curiosity about the world around them. Successful candidates to teach English abroad understand the value of being an international citizen, and they are eager to explore new places.
- Ability to lead and follow. English teachers have far more authority in the classroom than most recent graduates have in their first job. Employers offer structure and support to first-time teachers, but successful teachers possess natural leadership abilities.
- Commitment to knowledge and education. The best teachers are highly motivated and willing to learn about themselves as they pass on knowledge to others.
- Desire to create a strong career foundation. Our instructors want to do more with their career than simply push papers or crunch numbers. They want to see the world and play an active role in improving it.
How much can one expect to save per month?
Depending on the person's personal financial habits, he or she can expect to save anywhere from 10% to 50% of his or her salary or higher. In general, if the person lives in a major city like Beijing or Shanghai, his or her cost of living will be higher. Smaller cities and rural areas tend to have a lower cost of living, so it is easier to save money.
What is teaching English in China like?
Teachers in China are highly respected as role models. The goal of any teacher is to motivate people to gain knowledge and achieve their potential. As the person goes through his or her experience teaching in China, this goal will remain constant. Many alumni who had never taught or had a serious interest in teaching have found the experience surprisingly rewarding. Those who teach English in China get training, lesson plans, curriculum, and an administration system to help them lead classes, but they find that success is determined by the relationships they form with each of their students. Teachers often learn a great deal about themselves during the teaching process as they see how they can positively impact others' lives.
How will teaching in China help the person long-term?
Teaching English abroad opens a world of opportunities for the rest of the person's life. He or she will gain an understanding and appreciation for other cultures, as well as build an international network and learn marketable skills. Here are a few more examples:
- Awareness of international issues. Companies in many different industries need candidates who have international experience, especially with emerging markets in Asia. The person might find a position in international business management or the travel industry, among other opportunities.
- Strong leadership and communication skills. After his or her experiences in the classroom, the candidate will excel at giving a PowerPoint presentation, leading a brainstorming session, or mentoring new employees. These skills will make the person an asset to any company.
- An ability to succeed in a wide range of environments. This will prove invaluable in any job and in life. The person will be able to pick up new skills quickly and apply existing skills in many different workplace scenarios.
Our career mentoring experts will help clients ease the transition from teaching to the next stage of their career.
Questions about Teaching in China
How will I keep in touch with my friend or relative while he or she is teaching English abroad?
Staying in touch is never a problem when teaching in China. In addition to Internet access, there are also many low-cost computer-based phone services like Skype.com.
Will he or she be safe?
Absolutely! Safety is high priority for us, and China is a very safe country for both men and women. Although we occasionally hear reports of protests and demonstrations, Western media often exaggerate these accounts. For more on safety in China, see the U.S. State Department's website at: travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1089.html.
What if I want to visit the person while he or she is overseas?
That is an idea we encourage. It also great for the person teaching, as it provides a connection with home. It may be a good idea to visit during one of the holidays, to ensure your friend or family member will have some free time. New Year's Day, Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, May Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival, and National Day are holidays that all Chinese citizens enjoy. Among these, two are Golden Weeks (Spring Festival and National Day). Both holidays last for three days but by combining two weekends with them, people benefit from seven consecutive days off.
What do people do during their free time in China?
Teachers of English in China quickly discover that China has a large population of expatriates teaching and working in the country. This community creates a built-in social network for traveling around Asia or hanging out on weekends. During their off hours, teachers enjoy scoping out the nightlife, trying Chinese cuisine, or traveling. Every city has a thriving nightlife scene with movie theaters, dance clubs, and bars.
What happens if there's an emergency?
Your friend or family member should register with his or her local embassy upon arrival in China. The Embassy can assist you if there is a family emergency at home and you're unable to reach your friend or family member abroad.
Will he or she have access to medical services?
Definitely! China is a huge country, and the level and quality of medical care available depends very much on the location. But rest assured that even the most remote villages have medically trained personnel. The big cities, though, have many first-class facilities.
In Beijing, for example, it is possible to go to one of the local Chinese hospitals (no English spoken) and pay ridiculously low prices. Another alternative, which is slightly more expensive, is to go to one of the Chinese hospitals that have a special foreigner/VIP department. Most of these doctors speak English, and many have trained abroad.
We encourage teachers to sign up for overseas health insurance before they leave their home country.
Does my apartment have Internet access?
No, but it is possible to set up Internet access in your apartment. China is becoming increasingly wired. Once you have registered as a resident, you are able to sign up for an Internet service provider of your choice.
Typically you will get a semi-furnished apartment with a bed, gas stove, fridge, washing machine (no dryer), TV, table, and chair, plus a western-style bathroom. Western-style bathrooms generally have a shower but not a full bathtub.
How far is my apartment from the school?
Apartments are typically within 10–15 minutes traveling distance from the school (either by bus, subway, or walking).
Does the school pay for my commuting costs to work?
You are responsible for your transportation costs.
I am not interested in leaving to teach English abroad right away. When should I begin the hiring process?
In general, we should receive applications about three months prior to when applicants are interested in leaving for China. For recent graduates who are awaiting conferral of their diplomas, it is possible to go through the hiring process and receive an offer from the employer (offer contingent on receiving the diploma) for positions available up to six months into the future.
Can I bring my pet with me?
While a pet (cats/dogs) can be brought into China with a 30-day quarantine and appropriate vaccination paperwork, it is often difficult to find pet-friendly apartments. It is not recommended and applicants are advised to leave pets with family or friends while teaching in China.
Can I have friends/relatives visit me and stay at my apartment?
Yes. Short-term guests are allowed. Please remember that apartment walls are not as thick as in western countries, and teachers and their guests need to be respectful of their Chinese neighbors.
I will be traveling overseas alone. Is it possible to connect with other teachers before going overseas?
Yes. One of the benefits of working with Aclipse is the support we offer our candidates throughout the process. Teachers are encouraged to create a profile on our social networking site - http://aclipse.ning.com/ - in order to connect with other teachers arriving to teach in China at the same time. Once in China you will meet people in training, as all teachers beginning their teach English abroad experience at the same time will have training together in a centralized location. And you'll be working with other foreign teachers at your local branch, so there will be a lot of opportunity to develop your social network in China. It's one of the benefits of teaching overseas!
How many vacation days will I have?
Teacher contracts in China provide teachers with 10 paid vacation days per contract. In addition to these days teachers are entitled to the 11 national public holidays. Any other vacation time is at the discretion of the employer. Some vacation time may be pre-set by the employer, while in other cases it may be a system where the teacher applies for or requests the days they wish to have off in advance.
If You Have Any Questions You Can Contact Us
Take the First Step
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If you have any questions, before getting started, submit your question below.
Benefits Of Teaching English In China
- 21 days off annually: 10 vacation days plus 11 national holidays
- A 5 day 40 hour work week schedule with 25 hours devoted to teaching and the remaining time allotted to lesson preparation.
- Health insurance
- Annual flight allowance
- 12,000 to 13,500 RMB monthly salary depending on experience
- In-house ESL certification programs
- Free Chinese language programs
- Modern classrooms well-equipped with technology
- Curriculum and instructor tools such as a library of presentations, videos and other teaching materials.
Life in China
Embassy and Consulate Information
- Check out our China Embassy and Consulate page
Travel & Tourism
Tips While Living In China
Settling in to any new culture takes time and preparation. To make your transition easier, we’ve compiled a checklist of what you might expect as you prepare to teach in China.
China is known as a place of etiquette and ceremonies. Many proverbs have been passed down from generation to generation such as “civility costs nothing” or “courtesy demands reciprocity,” and so on.
Another aspect of Chinese culture that you will undoubtedly encounter is the philosophy of “face” (Mianzi).
Having “face” (Mianzi) means you are viewed by your peers, superiors, and subordinates as one in harmony with the prevailing disposition of society. Simply put, Mianzi can best be understood as the avoidance of embarrassment in front of others.
To avoid unnecessary mistakes and embarrassment during communications, an understanding of Chinese etiquette is essential.
- When visiting someone, do bring a gift of fruit, flowers, or food. Before bringing alcohol, check to make sure the person will enjoy it. If the recipient does not open your gift, it does not mean that he or she is not interested in it. It is polite to open a gift after the guest leaves.
- Remember when entering any home in China that you need to take off your shoes.
- When dining at a home, you will be offered more food. To not disappoint the host, you may accept a little more depending upon how full you are. When you are truly full, be sure to refuse firmly or your host will continue to refill your bowl.
- Always stand up when being introduced and remain standing throughout the introductions.
- Use both hands when presenting business cards and be sure the writing faces the person to whom you are presenting your card. Cards should also be received with both hands.
- The Chinese do not like to be touched, particularly by strangers. Do not hug, back slap, or put an arm around someone's shoulder.
- Do not bring a clock as a gift.
- Do not point using the index finger—use an open hand instead.
- Do not show the soles of your shoes.
- Do not immediately put a business card in a pocket or bag—this is considered rude.
- someone's hand.
Applying for your Employment Visa (Z-Visa)
Employment Visa (Z-Visa) is issued to an alien who comes to China for a post or employment and to his or her accompanying family members. Please submit the following documents with your application:
- Passport: Your valid passport must have at least six (6) months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it.
- Application form: One completed Visa Application Form (Q1)
- Photo: One passport photo (black and white or color is acceptable) glued or stapled on the application form
How to apply: You may come to the Visa Office of the Embassy or Consulate General in the consular jurisdiction in which you live to submit the application.
- Please make the check or money order payable to the Chinese Embassy.
- The processing fee is $130 USD.
Banking & Sending Money Home
Adjusting to a new country and to your new role as a teacher in China can be hard enough, without having to also think about organizing your finances in a very different banking environment.
The Bank of China and CITIC Industrial Bank provide personal banking for foreigners in China, as do the two main foreign banks, HSBC and Standard and Chartered. The main branches of China's other banks may also provide such services, but their banking facilities are likely to be more limited.
To open a savings account, you usually just need to complete a signature card, show your passport as identification, and make the appropriate deposit (varies depending on the bank and type of account).
The banking system in China is slow, and there are some restrictions on the services available. For example, 24 hours notice is needed to withdraw the equivalent of $5,000 USD or more (Bank of China) or $10,000 USD or more (CITIC). It takes several weeks to cash a bank draft drawn on a foreign bank. (This is important to remember when opening your account.)
There are also Bank of America and Chase bank branches in both Shanghai and Beijing.
If you need a cash advance against your credit card, one can be processed at the head branches of Bank of China in most cities with a 4% commission charge.
If you need to wire money or have money wired to you while in China, go through Western Union and its China affiliate, China Courier Service Corp (CCSC). Western Union charges a 5% service fee.
Money / Cost of Living
The official name for the Chinese currency is Renminbi (”people’s money”), often abbreviated as RMB. Issued by the People’s Bank of China, it is the sole legal tender in China for both Chinese nationals and foreigners. The primary unit of Renminbi is the Yuan, and the other official abbreviation for the currency is CNY (China Yuan). The Yuan is divided into jiao and fen. For current exchange rates visit: http://www.xe.com/ucc/.
Of course, you are probably wondering what you will get for your Yuan’s worth. Local cuisine costs much less than food purchased from American chains and restaurants. But getting your daily dose of Starbucks or McDonalds when available is still affordable for teachers in China:
Starbucks Tall Frappuccino
TGI Friday's Burger
State-run Chinese Central TV (CCTV), provincial, and municipal stations offer around 2,100 domestic television channels. The availability of non-domestic TV is limited, although selected foreign channels are allowed to transmit via cable in Guangdong province.
China National Radio and China Radio International carry out state-run radio broadcasting. The latter broadcasts in more than 40 languages. The BBC World Service and the Voice of America can be received in China.
There are several options on the mobile phone front:
The most popular option for English teachers in China is to buy a local sim card. The sim cards are available for a one-time fee of approximately 100 RMB and work as rechargeable cards thereafter; recharge cards being available at 50, 100, 300, and 500 RMB respectively. There are a couple of options when choosing a network for your local sim. However, China Mobile has been the most convenient option for procuring sim cards.
This provider works throughout China, and the sim cards are available at many outlets throughout China including the airport. The price to make a local call on this network is 0.60 RMB per minute. However, the downside to China Mobile is that they also charge a small fee for receiving phone calls. The price for international calls varies depending on the country you are calling.
China has had a personal income tax system since 1980. There are uniform rates for Chinese nationals and for foreigners, but people who live in China for less than a year are only required to pay tax on the income they earn within the country. Any income from elsewhere is tax-free. Foreigners who reside in China for more than a year, but for no more than five years, also have to pay tax on any income that is generated in China.
Different tax rates are levied on various categories of personal income. Progressive tax rates on income start at 5% for monthly income not exceeding 500 RMB, and go up to 45% for income exceeding 100,000 RMB per month.
Under certain conditions, American residents working abroad are entitled to exclusions on foreign-earned income. If you are a U.S. citizen, then the U.S. Embassy can provide you with copies of the "Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens Abroad" and "Overseas Filers of Form 1040,” or you can download these documents from www.irs.gov.
Canadian citizens should refer to: cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-e.html.
Getting around in Beijing is fairly convenient. There is a small subway system that can be convenient when you are close to a station, which is not always the case. Tickets are 2 RMB.
Taking a bus is only 1 RMB but can be confusing at first, especially if you can't read Chinese characters.
The easiest way to get around (but also the least economical) is by taxi. Fares range from 10 RMB for any ride within a few miles or about five minutes to 70 RMB for a 45-minute ride across Beijing. The average taxi fare for getting around the city in a convenient way is about 15 RMB per ride.
We've compiled a partial list of the items to bring with you to China. Remember that the country uses a different type of power (China is on the 220 volt system), so you will need to purchase a converter or buy electronics after you arrive.
Bring enough clothing for summer and winter. Remember China is a very large country and thus has a large range of climates. Smaller cities encourage a more conservative approach to attire whereas cities like Shanghai are developing a more western look. To best determine what you need to bring, review the temperature and weather of the city in which you will be living.
If you are on any prescription medication, including birth control, it's best to bring it with you. You'll be able to get pain relievers or cold medicine, but if you are loyal to a specific brand, you should bring that, too.
Most things are available in China. However, if you prefer certain brands i.e., certain types of toothpaste, make up, hair products, etc. you will want to bring them with you.
Photocopies of Important Documents
If your passport or photo ID gets lost or stolen, it will help to have photocopies to show at the Embassy.
Pictures from Home
While you are teaching English in China, photos will ease homesickness and fascinate your new students, who will no doubt be curious about your family and home country.
Western Food and Spices
If you plan to cook as you would at home, you may have trouble finding western spices. Just be sure to leave any spices you bring with you in their original packaging, or you might have difficulty explaining things to customs.
An Open Mind
If nothing else, leave your expectations at home. You are about to teach English in China and experience a country that is very different from your own, so you'll need to be willing to adapt. When in China, do as the Chinese do.
Safety In China
Overall, China is considered one of the safest countries in the world to travel. Crime is very low throughout and is generally limited to petty theft, pickpockets, and so forth.
It is important to remember that local laws and penalties, even those which may seem harsh by U.S. standards, do apply to you. For example, there are strictly enforced laws that prohibit demonstrations unless there is prior approval from the government. Penalties for drug offenses are severe.
Important phone numbers to remember:
- Dial 110 for Police
- Dial 119 for Fire
- Dial 120 for Emergency
For up-to-date information, visit the Overseas Security Advisory Council's website:
Embassy And Consulate
Services for American Citizens in China
- Passports and birth registration
- Assistance for those who have an emergency, such as an accident, an arrest, robbery or theft, or a natural disaster
- Transact notarization, rate-paying, voting, and travel registration
- On Wednesday, the embassy only opens during the morning 08:30-12:00.
- Visitors are forbidden to bring any electronic products into the embassy, such as a mobile phone, an electronic dictionary, an MP3, or a Palmtop.
- Visitors should not bring backpacks, suitcases, or big packages into the embassy.
If an American citizen in China loses his or her passport, what can he or she do?
- Report immediately to the local Police Station or Public Security Bureau to get an official Lost Passport Report. If the American citizen is in Beijing, please contact the Exit-Entry Management Division of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau at No.2 Dong Da Jie, An Ding Men, Dong Cheng District; Tel: (+86)10 8402 0101. The American citizen also needs to apply for a new Chinese visa with this authority.
- Go to the American embassy in Beijing or the nearest American Consulate to apply for a new passport in person. The American citizen is required to bring the following documentation: proof of identity (e.g., driver’s license, expired certificate, Student ID Card), proof of American citizenship (e.g., sealed original birth certificate with a filing number, canceled American passport), filled-in DS-11 and DS-64 Forms, two standard passport photos, and passport fees ($100 USD for people over 16 years old, $85 USD for people under the age of 16).